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Full text of "The suffragette; the history of the women's militant suffrage movement, 1905-1910"

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F*  M  UuscrrtfS 



Sylvia  Pankhurst  designing  a  part  of  the  decorations  of 
the  Prince's  Skating  Rink 



1905 — 1910 



**  You  have  made  of  your  Prisons  a  temple  of  honour." 

W.  E.  Gladstone 



Copyright   1 9 1 1 

Set  up  and   electrotyped.     Published  May,  191 1 

3  2.Y-3 


This  history  of  the  Women's  Suffrage  agitation 
is  written  at  a  time  when  the  question  is  in  the  very 
forefront  of  British  politics.  What  the  immediate 
future  holds  for  those  women  who  are  most  actively 
engaged  in  fighting  for  their  political  freedom  no 
one  can  foretell,  but  one  thing  is  certain:  complete 
victory  for  their  cause  is  not  far  distant. 

When  the  long  struggle  for  the  enfranchisement 
of  women  is  over,  those  who  read  the  history  of  the 
movement  will  wonder  at  the  blindness  that  led  the 
Government  of  the  day  to  obstinately  resist  so  simple 
and  obvious  a  measure  of  justice. 

The  men  and  women  of  the  coming  time  will,  I 
am  persuaded,  be  filled  with  admiration  for  the 
patient  work  of  the  early  pioneers  and  the  heroic 
determination  and  persistence  in  spite  of  coercion, 
repression,  misrepresentation,  and  insult  of  those 
who  fought  the  later  militant  fight. 

Perhaps  the  women  born  in  the  happier  days  that 
are  to  come,  while  rejoicing  in  the  inheritance  that 
we  of  to-day  are  preparing  for  them,  may  sometimes 
wish  that  they  could  have  lived  in  the  heroic  days 
of  stress  and  struggle  and  have  shared  with  us  the 
joy  of  battle,  the  exaltation  that  comes  of  sacrifice 
of  self  for  great  objects  and  the  prophetic  vision 
that  assures  us  of  the  certain  triumph  of  this  twen- 
tieth-century  fight  for  human  emancipation. 

E.  Pankhurst. 
4,  Clement's  Inn,  W.  C,  London. 
January,  191  i. 


In  writing  this  history  of  the  Militant  Women's 
Suffrage  Movement  I  have  endeavoured  to  give  a 
just  and  accurate  account  of  its  progress  and  happen- 
ings, dealing  fully  with  as  many  of  its  incidents  as 
space  will  permit.  I  have  tried  to  let  my  readers 
look  behind  the  scenes  in  order  that  they  may  under- 
stand both  the  steps  by  which  the  movement  has 
grown  and  the  motives  and  ideas  that  have  animated 
its  promoters. 

I  believe  that  women  striving  for  enfranchisement 
in  other  lands  and  reformers  of  future  days  may 
learn  with  renewed  hope  and  confidence  how  the 
"  family  party,"  who  in  1905  set  out  determined  to 
make  votes  for  women  the  dominant  issue  of  the 
politics  of  their  time,  in  but  six  years  drew  to  their 
standard  the  great  woman's  army  of  to-day.  It  is 
certain  that  the  militant  struggle  in  which  this 
woman's  army  has  engaged  and  which  has  come  as 
the  climax  to  the  long,  patient  effort  of  the  earlier 
pioneers,  will  rank  amongst  the  great  reform  move- 
ments of  the  world.  Set  as  it  has  been  in  modern 
humdrum  days  it  can  yet  compare  with  any  move- 
ment for  variety  and  vivacity  of  incident.  The  ad- 
venturous and  resourceful  daring  of  the  young  Suf- 
fragettes who,  by  climbing  up  on  roofs,  by  sliding 
down  through  skylights,  by  hiding  under  platforms, 
constantly  succeeded  in  asking  their  endless  questions, 
has    never   been    excelled.     What    could    be    more 


piquant  than  the  fact  that  two  of  the  Cabinet  Min- 
isters who  were  carrying  out  a  policy  of  coercion  to- 
wards the  women  should  have  teen  forced  into  the 
witness  box  to  be  questioned  and  cross-questioned  by 
Miss  Christabel  Pankhurst,  the  prisoner  in  the  dock? 
What,  too,  could  throw  a  keener  searchlight  upon 
the  methods  of  our  statesmen  than  the  evidence  put 
forward  in  the  course  of  that  trial? 

To  many  of  our  contemporaries  perhaps  the  most 
remarkable  feature  of  the  militant  movement  has 
been  the  flinging-aside  by  thousands  of  women  of 
the  conventional  standards  that  hedge  us  so  closely 
round  in  these  days  for  a  right  that  large  numbers 
of  men  who  possess  it  scarcely  value.  Of  course  it 
was  more  difficult  for  the  earlier  militants  to  break 
through  the  conventionalities  than  for  those  who  fol- 
lowed, but,  as  one  of  those  associated  with  the  move- 
ment from  its  inception,  I  believe  that  the  effort  was 
greater  for  those  who  first  came  forward  to  stand  by 
the  originators  than  for  the  little  group  by  whom  the 
first  blows  were  struck.  I  believe  this  because  I 
know  that  the  original  militants  were  already  in  close 
association  with  the  truth  that  not  only  were  the 
deeds  of  the  old  time  pioneers  and  martyrs  glorious, 
but  that  their  work  still  lacks  completion,  and  that 
it  behoves  those  of  us  who  have  grasped  an  idea 
for  human  betterment  to  endure,  if  need  be,  social 
ostracism,  violence,  and  hardship  of  all  kinds,  in 
order  to  establish  it.  Moreover,  whilst  the  origi- 
nators of  the  militant  tactics  let  fly  their  bolt,  as  it 
were,  from  the  clear  sky,  their  early  associates  rallied 
to  their  aid  in  the  teeth  of  all  the  fierce  and  bitter 
opposition  that  had  been  raised. 

The  hearts  of  students  of  the  movement  in  after 


years  will  be  stirred  by  the  faith  and  endurance  shown 
by  the  women  who  faced  violence  at  the  hands  of  the 
police  and  others  in  Parliament  Square  and  at  the 
Cabinet  Minister  meetings,  and  above  all  by  the  hero- 
ism of  the  noble  women  who  went  through  the  hunger 
strike  and  the  mental  and  physical  torture  of  forcible 

A  passionate  love  of  freedom,  a  strong  desire  to  do 
social  service  and  an  intense  sympathy  for  the  un- 
fortunate, together  made  the  movement  possible  in 
its  present  form.  Those  who  have  worked  as  a  part 
of  it  know  that  it  is  notable  not  merely  for  its  en- 
thusiasm and  courage,  but  also  for  its  cheery  spirit 
of  loyalty  and  comradeship,  its  patient  thoroughness 
in  organisation  which  has  made  possible  its  many 
great  demonstrations  and  processions,  its  freedom 
from  bitterness  and  recrimination,  and  its  firm  faith 
in  the  right. 

E.  Sylvia  Pankhurst. 

London,  May,   191  !• 



Sylvia  Pankhurst  designing  a  part  of  the  decx>ratioo8  of  the 
Princess  Skating  Rink     .    ^ FrontUpiea 


Christabel  Pankhurst  and  Annie  Kenney 35 

First  Women's  Suffrage  Demonstration  ever  held  in  Trafalgar 
Square,  May  X9th,  1906.  Mr.  Keir  Hardie  speaking:  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  and  Mrs.  Wolstenholrae  Elmy  in  centre  of  the 
platform So 

Selling  and  advertising  ''Votes  for  Women"  in  Kingsway    .  174 

Mrs.  Pankhurst  carrying  a  petition  from  the  Third  Women's 
Parliament  to  the  Prime  Minister  on  February  zjth,  1908     .  zoz 

The  Head  of  the  Procession  to  Hyde  Park,  June  21st,  1908     .  345 

A  Section  of  the  great  ''Votes  for  Women"  meeting  in  Hyde 
Park  on  June  2ist,  1908 247 

Lord  Rosebery  and  other  Members  of  both  Houses  watching 
the  Suffragettes'  struggle  in  Parliament  Square,  June  30th, 
X908 248 

Christabel  Pankhurst  inviting  the  public  to  "rush"  the  House 
of  Commons,  at  a  meeting  in  Trafalgar  Square,  Sunday, 
October  nth,  1908 255 

Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  Christabel  hiding  from  the  police  in  the 
roof  garden  at  Clement's  Inn,  October  Z2th,  1908     .  .  257 

Reading  the  Warrant,   October  13th,   1908 266 

Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  listening  to  Miss  Pankhurst's  speech  from 
the  Dock,  October,  1908 268 

Miss  Christabel  Pankhurst  questioning  Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone  285 

Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone  in  the  witness-box  being  examined  by 
Miss  Christabel  Pankhurst,  October,  1908 300 



Members  of  the  Women's  Freedom  League  attempting  to  enter 
the  House  after  the  taking  down  of  the  grille,  October  zSth, 
1908 319 

Mrs.    Pankhurst    in    Prxsoo 330 

Ejection  of  a  woman  questioner  from  BirrelPs  meeting  in  the 
City  Temple,  November  izth,  1908 333 

The  Chelmsford  Bye-Election 348 

The  human  letters  dispatched  by  Miss  Jessie  Kenney  to  Mr. 
Asquith  at  No.  10  Downing  Street,  Jan.  23,  1909     .     .     .351 

Procession  to  welcome  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Christabel,  and  Mrs. 
Leigh  <Mi  their  release  from  prison,  December  19th,  1908     .  353 

Mrs.  Lawrence's  Release  Procession,  April  17th,  1909     . .  360 

The  arrest  of  Miss  Dora  Marsden,  the  Standard  Bearer, 
March  30th,  1909 362 

Elsie  Howey  who  as  Joan  of  Arc,  rode  at  the  he  the  pro- 
cession formed  to  celebrate  Mrs.  Pethick  La^  release 
from   prison 365 

A  part  of  the  decoration  of  the  Exhibition  held  in  the  Prince's 
Skating  Rink,  May,  1909 369 

The  band  out  for  the  first  time.  May,  1909 376 

Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence's  release,  April  X7th 380 

Christabel  waving  to  the  hungry  strikers  from  a  house  over- 
looking the  prison,  July,  1909 383 

The  hunger  strikers  waving  to  Christabel  from  their  prison 
cells,  July,  1909 394 

Forcible  Feeding  with  the  Nasal  Tube 433 

Lady  Constance  Lytton  before  she  threw  the  stone  at  New 
Castle,  October  9th,  1909 440 

Arrest  of  Miss  Dora  Marsden  outside  the  Victoria  University 
of  Manchester,  October  4th,   1909 444 

Jessie  Kenney  as  she  tried  to  gain  admittance  to  Mr.  Asquith's 
meeting  on  Dec.  10,  1909,  disguised  as  a  telegraph  boy    .     .  476 



From  the  Formation  of  the  Women's  Social  and 
Political  Union  to  the  Summer  of  1905. 

From  her  girlhood  my  mother,  the  founder  of 
the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union,  had  been 
inspired  by  stories  of  the  early  reform  movements, 
and  even  before  this,  at  an  age  when  most  children 
have  scarcely  learnt  their  alphabet,  her  father, 
Robert  Goulden,  of  Manchester,  set  her  to  read  his 
newspaper  to  him  at  breakfast  and  thus  awakened 
her  lasting  interest  in  politics. 

The  Franco-German  War  was  still  a  much-dis- 
cussed event  when  Robert  Goulden  took  his  thirteen- 
year-old  daughter  to  school  in  Paris,  placing  her  at 
the  Ecole  Normale,  where  she  became  the  room- 
companion  of  Henri  Rochfort's  daughter,  Noemie. 
Noemie  Rochfort  told  her  little  English  schoolfel- 
low much  of  her  own  father's  adventurous  career, 
and  Emmeline  Goulden  soon  became  an  ardent  and 
enthusiastic  republican.  She  was  now  delighted  to 
discover  that  she  had  been  born  on  the  anniversary 
of  the  destruction  of  the  Bastille  and  was  proud 
to  tell  her  friend  that  her  own  grandmother  had 
been  an  earnest  politician,  and  one  of  the  earliest 



members  of  the  Anti-Corn  Law  League,  and  that 
her  grandfather  had  narrowly  escaped  death  upon 
the  field  of  Peterloo.  Even  before  her  school  days 
in  Paris  she  had  been  taken  by  her  mother  to  a 
Women's  Suffrage  meeting  addressed  by  Miss  Lydia 

On  returning  home  to  England,  Emmeline 
Goulden  settled  down  at  seventeen  years  of  age  to 
help  her  mother  in  the  care  of  her  eight  younger 
brothers  and  sisters,  and  when  she  was  twenty-one 
she  married  Dr.  Richard  Marsden  Pankhurst,  who 
was  many  years  older  than  herself,  and  had  long 
been  well  known  as  a  public  man. 

Dr.  Pankhurst  had  been  one  of  the  founders  of 
the  pioneer  Manchester  Women's  Suffrage  Com- 
mittee and  one  of  its  most  active  workers  in  the  early 
days.  He  had  drafted  the  original  Women's  En- 
franchisement Bill,  then  called  the  Women's  Disa- 
bilities Removal  Bill,  to  give  votes  to  women  on  the 
same  terms  as  men,  which  had  first  been  introduced 
by  Mr.  Jacob  Bright  in  1870  and  had  then  passed 
its  Second  Reading  in  the  House  of  Commons  by 
a  majority  of  thirty-three.  With  Lord  Coleridge, 
Dr.  Pankhurst  had  acted  as  counsel  for  the  women 
who  had  claifned  to  be  put  upon  the  Parliamentary 
Register  in  the  case  of  Chorlton  v.  Lings  in  1868. 
He  was  also  at  the  time  one  of  the  most  prominent 
members  of  the  Married  Women's  Property  Com- 
mittee and  had  drafted  the  Bill  to  give  married 
women  the  absolute  right  to  their  own  property  and 
to  sue  and  be  sued  in  the  Courts  of  Law,  which  was 
so  soon  to  be  placed  as  an  Act  upon  the  Statute 
Book.  Two  years  before  this  great  Act  became 
law,  Mrs.  Pankhurst  was  elected  to  the  Married 



Women's  Property  Committee,  and  at  the  same  time 
she  became  a  member  of  the  Manchester  Women's 
Suffrage  Committee. 

In  1889  "^y  parents  helped  to  form  the  Women's 
Franchise    League.     My    sister    Christabel    and    I, 
then  nine  and  seven  years  old,  already  took  a  lively 
interest  in  all  the  proceedings,  and  tried  as  hard 
as  we  Gould  to  make  ourselves  useful,  writing  out 
notices  in  big,  uncertain  letters  and  distributing  leaf- 
lets to  the  guests  at  a  three  days'  Conference  held  in 
our  own  home.     About  this  time  we  two  children 
had  begun  to  attend  Women's  Suffrage  and  other 
public  meetings,  and  these  we  reported  in  a  little 
manuscript  magazine,  which  we  both  wrote  and  illus- 
trated.    When  some  few  years  afterwards,  owing 
chiefly  to  lack  of  funds  and  the  ill  health  of  its  most 
prominent  workers,  the  Women's  Franchise  League 
was  discontinued.  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Pankhurst  returned 
to  Manchester  and  worked  mainly  for  general  ques- 
tions of  social  reform.     Years  before,  my  mother 
had  joined  the  Women's  Liberal  Federation  in  the 
hope  that  it  would  work  to  remove  both  the  political 
and  economic  grievances  of  women  and  to  raise  the 
status  of  women  generally,  but  finding  that  the  Fede- 
ration was  being  used  merely  to  forward  the  interests 
of  the  Liberal  Party,  of  which  women  could  not  be 
members  and  in  the  formation  of  whose  programme 
they  were  allowed  no  voice,  she  had  resigned  her 
membership.     In  1894  she  and  Dr.  Pankhurst  joined 
the  Independent  Labour  Party,  one  of  the  decisive 
reasons  for  this  step  being  that,  unlike  the  Liberal 
and  Conservative  parties,  the  Independent  Labour 
Party  admitted  men  and  women  to  membership  on 
equal  terms.     In  the  same  year  Mrs.  Pankhurst  was 


elected  to  the  Chorlton  Board  of  Guardians,  and 
remained  a  member  of  that  body  for  four  years. 
This  experience  taught  her  much  of  the  pressing 
needs  of  the  poor,  and  of  the  bitter  hardships,  espe- 
cially, of  the  women's  lives. 

After  Dr.  Pankhurst's  death,  in  1898,  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst  retired  from  the  Board  of  Guardians  and  be- 
came a  Registrar  of  Births  and  Deaths. 

For  the  next  few  years,  my  mother  took  no  active 
part  in  politics,  except  as  a  member  of  the  Man- 
chester School  Board,^  but  in  1901  my  sister 
Christabel  became  greatly  interested  in  the  Suffrage 
propaganda  organised  by  Miss  Esther  Roper,  Miss 
Eva  Gore-Booth,  and  Mrs.  Sarah  Dickinson  amongst 
the  women  textile  workers.  She  was  also  elected  to 
the  Manchester  Women's  Suffrage  Committee,  of 
which  Miss  Roper  was  Secretary.  Christabel  soon 
struck  out  a  new  line  for  herself.  Impressed  by  the 
growing  strength  of  the  Labour  Movement  she  be- 
gan to  see  the  necessity  of  converting  to  the  question 
of  Women's  Suffrage  the  various  Trade  Union  organ- 
isations, which  were  upon  the  eve  of  becoming  a 
concrete  force  in  politics.  She  therefore  made  it  her 
business  to  address  as  many  of  the  Trade  Unions  as 
were  willing  to  receive  her. 

We  were  all  much  interested  in  Christabel's  work 
and  my  mother's  enthusiasm  was  quickly  re-awak- 
ened. The  experiences  of  her  later  years  had 
brought  her  a  keener  insight  into  the  results  of  the 
political  disabilities  of  women,  against  which  she  had 
rebelled  as  a  high-spirited  girl,  and  she  now  realised 

^When  the  School  Boards  were  abolished,  Mrs.  Pankhurst 
became  the  Trades  Council  Representative  on  the  Education 


more  strongly  than  ever  before,  the  urgent  and  imme- 
diate need  for  the  enfranchisement  of  her  sex.  She 
became  filled  with  the  consciousness  that  her  duty  lay 
in  forcing  this  one  question  into  the  forefront  of 
practical  politics,  even  if  in  so  doing  she  should 
find  it  necessary  to  give  up  all  her  other  work.  The 
Women's  Suffrage  cause,  and  the  various  ways  in 
which  to  further  its  interests  were  now  constantly 
present  in  all  our  minds.  A  glance  at  the  early 
history  of  the  movement,  to  say  nothing  of  personal 
experience,  was  enough  to  show  that  the  Liberal  and 
Conservative  parties  had  no  intention  of  taking  the 
question  up,  and,  after  mature  consideration,  my 
mother  at  last  decided  that  a  separate  women's 
organisation  must  be  formed.  Therefore,  on  Octo- 
ber ID,  1903,  she  invited  a  number  of  women  to 
meet  at  our  home,  62  Nelson  Street,  Manchester, 
and  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  was 
formed.  Almost  all  the  women  who  were  present 
on  that  original  occasion  were  working-women. 
Members  of  the  Labour  Movement,  but  it  was  de- 
cided from  the  first  that  the  Union  should  be  entirely 
independent  of  Class  and  Party. 

The  phrase  *'  Votes  for  Women  "  was  now  for  the 
first  time  in  the  history  of  the  movement  adopted 
as  a  watchword  by  the  new  Union.  The  propaganda 
work  was  at  first  mainly  carried  on  amongst  the 
women  workers  of  Lancashire  and  Yorkshire  and, 
in  the  Spring  of  1904,  as  a  result  of  the  Women's 
Social  and  Political  Union's  activities,  the  Annual 
Conference  of  the  Independent  Labour  Party  in- 
structed its  Administrative  Council  to  prepare  a  Bill 
for  the  Enfranchisement  of  Women  to  be  laid  before 
Parliament  in  the  forthcoming  session.     This  Reso- 


lution,  though  carried  by  an  overwhelming  majority, 
had  been  bitterly  opposed  by  a  minority  of  the  Con- 
ference, who  asserted  that  the  Labour  Party  should 
not  concern  itself  with  a  partial  measure  of  enfran- 
chisement, but  should  work  directly  to  secure  uni- 
versal adult  suffrage  for  both  men  and  women. 

Therefore,  before  preparing  any  special  measure, 
the  National  Administrative  Council  of  the  Inde- 
pendent Labour  Party  went  very  carefully  into  the 
whole  question.  They  were  advised  by  Mr.  Keir 
Hardie  and  others  who  understood  Parliamentary 
procedure  that  a  measure  for  universal  adult  suf- 
frage, which  would  not  only  bring  about  most  sweep- 
ing changes,  but  would  open  countless  avenues  for 
discussion  and  consequent  obstruction,  could  never 
hope  to  be  carried  through  Parliament  except  by  the 
responsible  Government  of  the  day.  It  was,  there- 
fore, useless  for  the  Labour  representatives  to  attempt 
to  introduce  such  a  measure.  In  addition  to  this,  it 
was  pointed  out  that,  whilst  a  large  majority  of  the 
Members  of  the  House  of  Commons  had  already 
pledged  themselves  to  support  an  equal  Bill  to  give 
votes  to  women  on  the  same  terms  as  men,  no  sub- 
stantial measure  of  Parliamentary  support  had  as 
yet  been  obtained  for  adult  suffrage,  even  If  con- 
fined to  men.  Taking  into  consideration  also  the 
present  state  of  both  public  and  Parliamentary  feel- 
ing and  with  a  million  more  women  than  men  in  the 
British  Isles,  there  was  absolutely  no  chance  of  car- 
rying into  law  any  proposal  to  give  a  vote  to  every 
grown  man  and  woman  in  the  country.  Having  thus 
arrived  at  the  conclusion  that  an  adult  suffrage 
measure  was  out  of  the  question,  the  Council  now 
carefully  inquired  into  the  various  classes  of  women 


who  were  possessed  of  the  qualifications  which  would 
have  entitled  them  to  vote  had  they  been  men.  On 
its  being  ascertained  that  the  majority  would  be 
householders,  whose  names  were  already  upon  the 
register  of  Municipal  voters,  the  following  circular 
was  addressed  to  all  the  Independent  Labour  Party 

We  address  to  your  branch  a  very  urgent  request  to  as- 
certain from  your  local  voting  register  the  following  par- 
ticulars :  — 

(i)  The  total  number  of  electors  in  the  Ward. 

(2)  The  total  number  of  women  voters. 

(3)  The  number  of  women  voters  of  the  working  classes. 

(4)  The  number  of  voters  not  of  the  working  classes. 

It  IS  impossible  to  lay  down  a  strict  definition  of  the  term 
"  working  classes,"  but  for  this  purpose  it  will  be  sufficient 
to  regard  as  working-class  women,  those  who  work  for 
wages,  who  are  domestically  employed,  or  who  are  supported 
by  the  earnings  of  wage-earning  children. 

It  was  not  unnatural,  that  the  majority  of  the 
branches  failed  to  comply  with  a  request  which 
obviously  entailed  a  very  extensive  work.  Never- 
theless returns  were  sent  in  from  between  forty  and 
fifty  different  towns  and  districts  in  various  parts  of 
the  country  and  these  showed  the  following  results :  ^ 

Total  of  electors  on  the  Municipal  register 423,321 

Total  of  Women  Voters 59,920 

Total  of  Working  Women  Voters  as  defined  above    49,410 

Total  of  Non-working  Women  Voters 10,510 

Percentage  of  Working  Women  Voters 82.45 

^In  Booth's  classic  book.  Life  and  Labour  in  London,  the  re- 
sult of  a  canvass  of  the  then  186,982  women  occupiers,  shows 


On  receiving  these  figures,  the  National  Council 
of  the  Independent  Labour  Party  decided  to  adopt 
the  original  Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill,  which 
passed  its  Second  Reading  in  1870.  The  text  of 
the  Bill  was  as  follows : 

In  all  Acts  relating  to  the  qualifications  and  registration 
of  voters  or  persons  entitled  or  claiming  to  be  registered 
and  to  vote  in  the  election  of  members  of  Parliament,  wher- 
ever words  occur  which  import  the  masculine  gender  the 
same  shall  be  held  to  include  women  for  all  purposes  con- 
nected with  and  having  reference  to  the  right  to  be  reg- 
istered as  voters  and  to  vote  in  such  election,  any  law  or 
usage  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding. 

Meanwhile  we  of  the  Women's  Social  and  Political 
Union  were  eagerly  looking  forward  to  the  new 
session  of  Parliament.     It  is  indeed  wonderful,  in 

that  of  that  number  94,940  were  wage  earners  who  were  divided 
into  the  following  categories:  — 

Charwomen,  office-keepers,  laundresses   30,334 

Dressmakers  and  milliners   14,361 

Shirt  and  blouse-makers,  seamstresses  6,525 

Waitresses,  matrons,  etc 5,595 

Tailoresses  4443 

Lodging  and  coffee-house  keepers  4,226 

Medical  women,  nurses,  mid  wives  3,97 1 

Teachers    2,198 

On  the  basis  of  Booth's  figures.  Miss  Clara  Collett,  the  Gov- 
ernment's Senior  Inspector  for  Women's  Industries,  writing  in 
the  Journal  of  the  Royal  Statistical  Society  for  September,  1908, 
estimated  that  the  women  occupiers  of  London  might  be  divided 
as  follows:  — 

Occupied  women  (who  work  out)    51  per  cent. 

Housewives    (without  servants)    38 

Housewives  (with  one  servant)    5 

Housewives  (with  two  or  more  servants)    6 



the  midst  of  the  great  Women's  Movement  that  is 
present  with  us  to-day,  to  look  back  upon  its  small 
beginnings  in  that  dreary  and  dismal  time  not  yet 
six  years  ago.  It  seemed  then  well-nigh  impossible 
to  rouse  the  London  women  from  their  apathy  upon 
this  question,  for  the  old  Suffrage  workers  had  lost 
heart  and  energy  in  the  long  struggle  and  those  who 
had  joined  them  in  recent  days  saw  no  prospect  that 
votes  for  women  would  ever  come  to  pass. 

I  myself  was  then  a  student  at  the  Royal  College 
of  Art,  South  Kensington,  but  I  decided  to  absent 
myself  in  order  to  help  my  mother,  who  had  come 
down  from  Manchester  to  "  lobby,"  as  it  is  called, 
on  those  few  important  days.  The  House  met  on 
Tuesday,  February  13,  and  during  the  eight  days 
which  intervened  before  the  result  of  the  Private 
Members'  ballot  was  made  known  we  spent  the  whole 
of  our  time  in  the  Strangers'  Lobby  striving  to 
induce  every  Member  who  had  pledged  himself  to 
support  Women's  Suffrage  to  agree  that  his  chance 
in  the  ballot  should  be  given  to  a  Women's  Suffrage 
Bill.  It  was  my  first  experience  of  Lobbying.  I 
knew  we  had  an  uphill  task  before  us,  but  I  hid  no 
conception  of  how  hard  and  discouraging  it  was  to 
be.  Members  of  Parliament  all  told  us  that  they 
had  pledged  themselves  to  do  "  something  for  their 
constituents  "  or  had  some  other  measure  in  which 
they  were  interested,  or  had  not  been  in  Parliament 
long  and  preferred  to  wait  until  they  had  more 
experience  before  they  would  care  to  ballot  for  a 
Bill  at  all.  Oh,  yes,  they  were  **  in  favour "  of 
Women's  Suffrage;  they  believed  that  "the  ladies 
ought  to  have  votes,"  but  they  really  could  not  give 
their  places  in  the  ballot  for  the  question;  it  was 


always  '*  anything  but  that,"  and  during  the  whole 
of  the  week  we  spent  in  the  Lobby  we  did  not 
succeed  in  adding  one  single  promise  to  that 
which  we  had  originally  received  from  Mr.  Keir 

On  the  fateful  Wednesday  on  which  the  result  was 
declared,  my  mother  and  I  were  the  only  women  in 
the  Lobby.  We  sat  there  on  the  shiny  black  leather 
seats  in  the  circular  hall  waiting  for  the  result,  and 
at  list  we  saw  with  relief  Mr.  Keir  Hardie's  pictur- 
esque figure  coming  hurrying  towards  us  from  the 
Inner  Lobby.  He  was  so  kind  and  helpful,  the  only 
kind  and  helpful  person  in  the  whole  of  Parliament, 
it  seemed.  At  once  he  told  us  that  his  name  had 
not  been  drawn  in  the  ballot  and  explained  that  only 
the  first  twelve,  or,  at  most,  fourteen,  places  that  had 
been  drawn  could  be  of  any  use  to  the  Members  who 
had  secured  them,  and  that,  owing  to  the  limited 
number  of  days  upon  which  private  Members'  Bills 
could  be  discussed,  only  the  first  three  or  four  had 
even  a  moderately  good  chance  of  becoming  law.^ 
Our  next  move  must  therefore  be  to  get  in  touch 
with  the  successful  fourteen  Members  and  to  en- 
deavour to  persuade  one  of  them  to  devote  his  place 
in  the  ballot  to  a  Women's  Suffrage  Bill.  After 
considerable  trouble  we  finally  got  into  communication 
with  all  of  them,  and  they  all  said  "  No,"  with  the 
exception  of  Mr.  Bam  ford  Slack,  who  held  the  four- 
teenth place,  and  who  at  last  agreed  to  introduce  our 
Bill,  largely  because  his  wife  was  a  Suffragist  and 
helped  us  to  urge  our  cause.  Of  course  the  four- 
teenth place  was  not  by  any  means  a  good  one,  and 

1  Even   a   first   place   is  useless   if   the   Government   and   the 
Speaker  are  hostile. 


the  Bill  was  set  down  as  the  Second  Order  of  the 
Day  for  Friday,  May  12. 

In  the  meantime  we  drafted  a  petition  in  support 
of  it  and  set  ourselves  to  procure  signatures.     One 
Sunday  evening  I  went  with  a  bundle  of  petition 
forms  to  a  meeting  addressed  by  Mr.  G.  K.  Chester- 
ton   at    Morriss    Hall,    Clapham.     The    lecturer's 
remarks  were  devoted  to  a  eulogy  of  the  French 
Revolution,  from  which  he  asserted  all  ideas  of  pop- 
ular representation  had  sprung.     An  opening,  which 
I  seized,  was  given  for  a  question  on  the  subject  of 
votes  for  women  in  relation  to  the  Government  of 
our    Colonies.     Whilst   the    audience   were    asking 
questions  and  offering  criticisms,  Mr.  Chesterton  was 
busily  making  sketches  of  us  all,  but,  though  I  saw 
myself  being  added  to  the  picture  gallery,  in  reply- 
ing to  the  questions  raised  in  the  debate  afterwards, 
he  did  not  answer  my  point.     Afterwards,  however, 
he  came  up  and  told  me  that  he  had  forgotten  to 
deal  with  it  and  then  gave  me  an  explanation.     I 
had  not  asked,  "  Are  you  in  favour  of  Votes  for 
Women?"     I  had  assumed  that   he  was  and  he 
replied  on  the  same  assumption,  and  afterwards  vol- 
untarily signed  his  name  to  my  petition.     It  was  with 
surprise,  not  untempered  with  amusement,  therefore, 
that  I  afterwards  found  Mr.  Chesterton  coming  for- 
ward as  an  active   anti-suffragist,  but  his   attitude 
seemed  to  me  to  be  an  augury  of  our  speedy  success, 
for  he  delights  to  champion  unpopular  causes  and  to 
oppose  himself  to  the  overwhelming  and  inevitable 
march  of  coming  events. 

Many  other  women's  societies,  suffrage,  organised 
petitions  at  this  time,  for  the  fact  of  having  a  Bill 
before  the  House  of  Commons  for  the  first  time  for 


eight  years,  had  sent  a  thrill  of  new  life  through 
them  all.  The  result  of  our  united  efforts  was  that, 
when  the  twelfth  of  May  came  round,  the  Strangers' 
Lobby  was  densely  crowded,  and  many  of  the  women 
had  to  be  drafted  on  to  the  Terrace,  or  to  stand 
in  the  various  passages  leading  from  the  Lobby. 
As  well  as  the  members  of  the  various  suffrage  soci- 
eties, women  of  all  classes,  from  the  richest  to  the 
poorest,  were  represented  in  the  gathering,  and 
amongst  the  rest  was  a  large  contingent  of  women 
Co-operators,  accompanied  by  Mrs.  Nellie  Alma 
Martel,  of  Australia,  who  had  helped  to  win  votes 
for  women  there,  and  had  afterwards  been  run  as  a 
candidate  for  the  Commonwealth  Parliament,  hav- 
ing polled  more  than  20,000  votes. 

Many  of  the  women  were  quite  pathetically  con- 
fident that  we  were  going  to  get  Women's  Suffrage 
then  and  there,  but  those  df  us  who  knew  rather  more, 
both  of  the  stubborn  character  of  our  opponents  and 
the  antiquated  Parliamentary  procedure  which  ren- 
ders it  possible  for  a  handful  of  obstructionists  to 
block  any  private  Member's  measure  unless  the  Gov- 
ernment will  come  to  its  aid,  knew  that  the  Women's 
Enfranchisement  Bill  stood  in  a  very  precarious  posi- 
tion. The  question  which  occupied  the  first  place  on 
the  day  for  which  our  own  measure  had  been  set 
down,  was  a  simple,  practically  non-contentious  little 
Bill,  the  object  of  which  was  to  provide  that  carts 
travelling  along  the  public  roads  by  night  should 
carry  a  light  behind  as  well  as  before.  We  had  spent 
weeks  in  bringing  all  possible  pressure  to  bear,  both 
upon  the  promoters  of  the  Roadway  Lighting  Bill, 
that  they  might  withdraw  their  measure,  and  upon 
the  Conservative  Government,  In  the  hope  that  they 


would  give  special  facilities  for  the  further  discussion 
of  the  Bill.  In  both  directions  we  met  with  a  re- 
fusal, but  we  would  not  give  up  hope.  Finally  on 
the  very  day  of  the  Second  Reading,  when  the  anti- 
suffragists  (as  we  had  already  foreseen  would  be  the 
case)  were  amusing  themselves  by  spinning  out  the 
debate  on  the  Roadway  Lighting  Bill  by  pointless 
jokes  and  contemptible  absurdities,  Mrs.  Pankhurst 
sent  a  message  to  Mr.  Balfour  telling  him  that  if 
facilities  for  the  passing  into  law  of  the  Women's 
Enfranchisement  Bill  were  not  granted,  the  Women's 
Social  and  Political  Union  would  work  actively 
against  the  Government  at  the  next  General  Elec- 
tion. This  message  produced  no  apparent  effect; 
and  from  the  meeting  of  the  House,  at  twelve  o'clock 
until  half -past  four  in  the  afternoon,  the  discussion 
upon  the  Roadway  Lighting  Bill  continued.  Then 
only  half  an  hour  remained  for  our  Bill,  and  this, 
amid  irresponsible  laughter,  was  "  talked  out." 

The  news  of  what  was  being  done  had  gradually 
filtered  into  the  Lobby,  and  the  attitude  of  the  as- 
sembled women  had  changed  from  one  of  pleased 
expectancy  to  anger  and  dismay.  A  feeling  of  tense 
excitement  seemed  to  run  through  the  gathering. 
Some  of  the  faces  were  flushed  and  others  white, 
whilst  many  had  tears  in  their  eyes.  Especially 
amongst  the  working  women  Co-operators  feeling 
was  running  high.  These  women  were  eagerly 
looking  forward  to  the  time  when  they  would  be 
able  to  take  their  part  side  by  side  with  men  in  set- 
tling the  terrible  social  problems  with  which  they 
were  met  on  every  hand.  They  bitterly  resented 
the  way  in  which  they  were  being  insulted  by  Mem- 
bers of  the  House  of  Commons;  they  wanted  to  do 


something  to  express  their  feelings  of  disapproval 
and  when  the  order  for  strangers  to  leave  the  House 
was  given,  many  of  them  seemed  disinclined  to  go. 
Then  some  of  the  women  who  had  been  listening 
to  the  debate  from  behind  the  Grille  in  the  Ladies' 
gallery,  came  down  into  the  Lobby  and  told  us  that 
a  strange  man  in  the  adjoining  gallery  had  suddenly 
sprung  up  to  protest  against  the  way  in  which  our 
question  was  being  "  talked  out,"  he  had  been  thrown 
out  of  the  House  by  the  police,  and  was  now  at 
the  entrance  to  the  Lobby.  This  piece  of  news 
created  a  diversion.  The  women  flocked  out  to 
thank  him.  It  was  not  until  afterwards  that  we 
or  they  learned  that  the  man  was  one  of  the  un- 
employed bootmakers  who  had  marched  up  from 
Leicester,  and  that  he  had  not  made  his  protest  in 
our  favour,  but  because  he  saw  that  the  House  was 
wasting  hour  after  hour  in  laughing  and  joking, 
though  the  Government  had  assured  him  that  it  had 
no  time  to  attend  to  the  grievances  of  starving  men. 
My  mother  now  suggested  that  a  meeting  of 
protest  should  be  held  outside,  arid  Mrs.  Wolsten- 
holme  Elmy,  the  oldest  worker  in  the  Suffrage  move- 
ment present,  began  to  speak.  The  women  crowded 
round  to  listen,  but  almost  at  once  the  police  ordered 
us  away  and  began  striding  in  and  out  amongst  us 
and  pushing  us  apart.  We  thereupon  moved  to  the 
foot  of  the  Richard  I  statue,  which  stands  just 
outside  the  door  of  the  House  of  Lords,  but  again 
the  police  intervened,  till,  at  last,  after  much  argu- 
ment, the  Inspector  of  Police  offered  to  take  us 
to  a  place  where  a  meeting  might  be  held.  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  then  called  upon  Mrs.  Martel,  as  an 
Australian  woman  voter,  to  lead  us  and,  joined  by  a 


single  Member  of  Parliament,  Mr.  Keir  Hardie,  we 
marched  with  the  police  to  Broad  Sanctuary,  close 
to  the  gates  of  Westminster  Abbey.  Here  we 
adopted  a  Resolution  condemning  the  procedure  of 
the  House  of  Commons,  which  had  made  it  possible 
for  a  small  minority  of  opponents  to  prevent  a  vote 
being  taken  upon  the  Women's  Enfranchisement 
Bill,  and  calling  upon  the  Government  to  rescue  it 
now  and  carry  it  into  law.  The  meeting  then  dis- 
persed, vowing  political  vengeance  upon  the  Govern- 
ment if  this  should  not  be  done. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  during  the  summer  of 
1905  it  was  evident  to  the  most  casual  observer 
that  the  resignation  of  the  Conservative  Government 
could  not  be  long  delayed.  Mr.  Chamberlain's 
Tariff  Reform  proposals  were  causing  dissent  in  the 
Cabinet,  and  the  resignation  of  several  Ministers  had 
already  taken  place.  The  South  African  War  had 
brought  a  measure  of  overwhelmingly  enthusiastic 
support  to  the  Conservative  Government  but,  as 
almost  always  happens  in  such  cases,  a  reaction  had 
set  in,  now  that  the  war  taxes  had  to  be  met.  At  the 
same  time  there  was  grave  depression  in  the  cotton 
trade,  and  consequent  distress  in  the  industrial  dis- 
tricts. In  order  to  cope  with  the  trouble,  Mr. 
Walter  Long,  on  behalf  of  the  Government,  had 
introduced  a  Bill  to  provide  relief  work  for  the 
unemployed.  This  had  met  with  serious  opposition 
from  his  own  party,  and  it  had  been  subsequently 
announced  that  no  further  time  could  be  found  for 
the  discussion  of  the  measure.  At  this  point  the 
dispute  which  had  arisen  between  the  Scottish  Free 
Church  and  the  United  Free  Church  of  Scotland  had 
become  acute,  and  on  June  7,  Mr.  Balfour  had  intro- 


duced  the  Scottish  Churches  Bill,  which  was  hurried 
through  its  various  stages  and  finally  passed  on 
July  26.  It  was  urged  that  the  Government  ought 
not  to  have  brought  forward  this  new  measure 
whilst  the  unemployed  workmen  Bill,  to  which  they 
were  already  committed,  had  been  set  aside  for  lack 
of  time.  But  Mr.  Balfour  excused  himself  by  pro- 
testing that  he  had  been  obliged  to  carry  the  Scottish 
Churches  Bill  because  a  "  crisis  "  had  arisen. 

The  unemployed  and  their  leaders  now  stated  that 
if  Mr.  Balfour  needed  a  crisis  to  make  him  act, 
they  would  certainly  provide  him  with  a  crisis.  An 
uprising  on  a  small  scale  accordingly  took  place  in 
Manchester,  in  the  course  of  which  the  unemployed, 
in  spite  of  police  prohibition,  persisted  in  holding  a 
meeting  in  Albert  Square.  Afterwards  they  marched 
in  an  irregular  mass  along  Market  Street,  spreading 
all  over  the  roadway  and  obstructing  the  traffic.  A 
struggle  with  the  police  ensued,  during  which  four 
men  were  arrested.  The  question  of  the  Manchester 
"  riot,"  as  it  was  called,  was  at  once  raised  by  Mr. 
Keir  Hardie  as  a  matter  of  urgency  in  the  House 
of  Commons  and,  as  a  result,  it  was  hastily  carried 
through  its  remaining  stages,  though  in  a  modified 

We  of  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union 
had  been  much  interested  by  the  situation  that  had 
arisen,  both  in  regard  to  the  Unemployed  and  the 
Scottish  Churches,  and  we  determined  to  profit  by 
the  example  of  those  who,  by  determined  and  decisive 
action,  had  secured  a  certain  measure  of  considera- 
tion for  their  claims.  It  was  only  a  question  now 
of  how  much  longer  militant  tactics  were  to  be  de- 
layed, and  as  to  how  they  were  to  be  inaugurated. 


A  favourable  opportunity  for  their  dramatic  com- 
mencement had  not  yet  presented  itself,  but  there 
was  plenty  of  necessary  propaganda  work  for  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  to  do. 

One  Sunday  evening  in  June,  Mrs.  Pankhurst  had 
been  invited  to  speak  on  Women's  Suffrage  to  a 
meeting  held  under  the  auspices  of  the  Oldham  Inde- 
pendent Labour  Party.  During  the  proceedings 
glees  were  sung  by  a  choir  of  men  and  women  cotton 
operatives,  and  one  of  the  members  of  the  choir 
was  Annie  Kenney,  who  was  afterwards  to  take  so 
prominent  a  part  in  the  Votes  for  Women  Move- 
ment. Annie  Kenney  was  deeply  impressed  by  all 
that  Mrs.  Pankhurst  had  to  say,  and  shortly  after- 
wards, when  my  sister  Christabel  also  lectured  in 
Oldham,  she  asked  to  be  introduced  to  her.  Christa- 
bel then  asked  her  to  pay  a  visit  to  our  home  in 
Manchester,  and  the  friendship  which  was  to  have 
such  far-reaching  results  began. 

Annie  Kenney  was  born  at  Lees,  near  Oldham. 
She  was  the  child  of  working-class  parents,  and,  to 
supplement  her  father's  earnings,  her  mother,  in  addi- 
tion to  all  her  household  cares,  had  been  obliged 
to  go  out  to  work  in  a  cotton  mill  most  of  her  married 
life.  Annie  Kenney  herself  had  early  become  a 
wage-earner,  for  at  ten  years  of  age  she  secured  an 
engagement  as  a  half-timer  in  one  of  the  Oldham 
cotton  factories.  Then,  wearing  her  heavy  steel- 
tipped  clogs,  her  fair  hair  hanging  down  her  back  in 
a  long  plait  covered  by  a  shawl,  she  had  gone  into 
the  hot,  crowded  spinning  mill,  and  working  amid 
the  noisy  jarring  of  the  machinery  as  a  "  little  tenter  " 
at  the  disposal  of  three  older  women,  she  had  learnt 
to  fit  into  place  the  big  bobbins  covered  with  fleecy 


strands  of  soft,  raw  cotton;  and  to  piece  these  same 
fleecy  strands  when  they  broke,  as  they  did  so  often, 
whilst  they  were  being  spun  out  thinner  and  stronger. 
Once,  as  she  seized  the  broken  thread  in  her  tiny 
fingers,  one  of  them  was  caught  somehow  and  torn 
off  by  the  whirling  bobbins.  Whilst  she  was  still  a 
half-timer  she  worked  alternately,  one  week  from 
six  o'clock  in  the  morning  till  midday  in  the  mill, 
and  during  the  afternoon  at  the  elementary  school; 
and  the  next  week  she  spent  the  morning  at  school 
and  four  hours  of  the  afternoon  in  the  mill.  At 
thirteen,  her  school  days  had  ceased,  and  she  had 
become  a  "  full-timer,"  working  in  the  mill  from 
six  o'clock  in  the  morning  till  six  at  night. 

This  premature  launching  forth  into  the  world 
of  wage-earners  had  left  its  mark  upon  Annie  Ken- 
ney.  Her  features  had  been  sharpened  by  it,  and 
her  eager  face  that  flushed  so  easily  was  far  more 
deeply  lined  than  are  the  faces  of  girls  whose  child- 
hood has  been  prolonged.  Those  wide,  wide  eyes 
of  hers,  so  wonderfully  blue,  though  at  rare  moments 
they  could  dance  and  sparkle  like  a  fountain  in  the 
sunshine,  were  more  often  filled  with  pain,  anxiety 
and  foreboding,  or  with  a  longing  restless,  searching, 
unsatisfied  and  far  away.  A  member  of  a  very  large 
family,  Annie  had  four  sisters  —  Nellie,.  Kitty,  Jen- 
nie, and  Jessie  —  who  came  nearest  her'^m  age  and 
had  been  her  companions  in  the  cotton  mill.  In  spite 
of  the  fact  that  they  were  constantly  obliged  to  rise 
at  four  or  five  in  the  morning,  in  order  to  reach  the 
factory  gates  at  six  o'clock,  and  on  returning  home 
were  obliged  first  to  help  to  do  the  housework  and 
prepare  the  evening  meal  for  the  rest  of  the  family, 
these  girls  were  all  determined  to  continue  their  edu- 


cation,  and  they  regularly  attended  the  Oldham  night 
schools.  At  the  time  when  we  first  met  Annie,  Nellie 
and  Kitty,  the  two  eldest  of  the  sisters,  had  both 
worked  their  way  out  of  the  cotton  mill.  Nellie  had 
become  a  shop  assistant,  and  had  soon  proved  herself 
so  able  that  she  had  been  put  in  charge  of  two  of 
her  employer's  shops,  whilst  Kitty  had  passed  the 
necessary  examinations  and  had  obtained  a  post  as 
an  elementary  school  teacher,  and  Jennie,  though 
still  in  the  mill,  was  studying  with  the  same  object. 
Jessie,  who  was  but  sixteen,  was  learning  typewriting 
and  shorthand. 

Annie,  who  was  then  twenty-five,  was  unlike  her 
sisters  in  many  ways.  She  frequently  said  that  she 
was  not  so  **  clever  "  as  her  sisters,  but  when  any 
decisive  step  was  to  be  taken  or  any  question  of  prin- 
ciple to  be  decided,  it  was  always  Annie  who  took 
the  lead.  There  is  not  much  that  is  beautiful  in  a 
small  Lancashire  manufacturing  town,  but  what  little 
there  was,  Annie  Kenney  contrived  to  make  the  most 
of.  She  was  a  regular  attendant  at  the  Church,  and 
delighted  in  the  beauty  of  the  music;  the  Whitsun- 
tide processions,  in  which  she  walked  with  the  other 
Sunday-school  children  all  in  their  white  dresses, 
being  vivid  memories  with  her  still.  She  early  com- 
menced to  carry  on  a  literary  campaign  amongst  her 
work-mates  vand,  having  come  across  a  copy  of  the 
penny  weekly  paper  *'  The  Clarion,'*  in  which  Robert 
Blatchford  was  publishing  a  series  of  articles  on  his 
"favourite  books,"  contrived  to  procure  some  of 
the  works  which  were  there  mentioned,  and  intro- 
duced them  to  her  companions. 

On  the  few  holidays  which  fall  to  the  lot  of  the 
cotton  worker,  or  when  the  mills  were  stopped  owing 



to  bad  trade,  Annie  Kenney  and  her  sisters  and  some 
of  their  favourite  work-mates  would  put  together  a 
simple  luncheon  and  set  off  roaming  for  miles  across 
the  moors.  The  grass  and  the  trees  might  be  black- 
ened with  the  smoke  of  the  factories,  the  sight  of 
whose  tall  chimneys  the  girls  could  never  leave  be- 
hind, but,  blighted  as  it  was,  this  was  the  only  coun- 
try that  Annie  had  ever  known,  and  it  was  all  beau- 
tiful to  her.  When  they  had  walked  till  they  were 
tired,  the  girls  would  lie  down  on  the  grass,  and  then 
they  would  read  to  each  other  in  turn,  and  Annie 
would  talk  to  them  about  the  flowers  and  the  sky. 

Just  as  she  was  intensely  alive  to  all  that  was  beau- 
tiful, so  too  Annie  Kenney  realised  keenly  the  ugly 
and  sordid  side  of  life.  When  speaking  of  her  early 
days  to  a  conference  of  women  in  Germany,  in  1908, 
she  said: 

I  grew  up  in  the  midst  of  women  and  girls  in  the  works, 
and  I  saw  the  hard  lives  of  the  women  and  children  about 
me.  I  noticed  the  great  difference  made  in  the  treatment 
of  men  and  women  in  the  factory,  differences  in  conditions, 
differences  in  wages  and  differences  in  status.  I  realised 
this  difference  not  in  the  factory  alone  but  in  the  home. 
I  saw  men,  women,  boys  and  girls,  all  working  hard  during 
the  day  in  the  same  hot,  stifling  factories.  Then  when 
work  was  over  I  noticed  that  it  was  the  mothers  who  hur- 
ried home,  who  fetched  the  children  that  had  been  put  out 
to  nurse,  prepared  the  tea  for  the  husband,  did  the  cleaning, 
baking,  washing,  sewing  and  nursing.  I  noticed  that  when 
the  husband  came  home,  his  day's  work  was  over;  he  took 
his  tea  and  then  went  to  join  his  friends  in  the  club  or  in 
the  public  house,  or  on  the  cricket  or  foot-ball  field,  and 
I  used  to  ask  myself  why  this  was  so.  Why  was  the 
mother  the  drudge  of  the  family,  and  not  the  father's  com- 
panion and  equal? 


From  the  first  we  found  Annie  ready  with  excel- 
lent ideas  for  spreading  our  propaganda.  In  Lanca- 
shire every  little  town  and  village  has  its  "  Wakes 
Week."  The  "  Wakes  "  being  a  sort  of  Fair,  at 
which  there  are  "  merry-go-rounds,"  "  cocoanut 
shies,"  and  numberless  booths  and  stalls  where  hu- 
man and  animal  monstrosities  are  shown  and  all 
kinds  of  things  are  sold.  In  every  separate  town  or 
village  the  **  Wakes  "  is  held  at  a  different  date,  so 
that  within  a  radius  of  a  few  miles  one  or  other  of 
these  fairs  is  going  on  all  through  the  summer  and 
autumn.  Annie  told  us  that  on  the  Sunday  before 
the  "  Wakes  "  almost  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  place 
go  down  to  the  *'  Wakes-ground  "  and  walk  amongst 
the  booths,  and  that  Salvation  Army  and  other 
preachers,  temperance  orators,  the  vendors  of  quack 
medicines  and  others  seize  this  opportunity  of  ad- 
dressing the  crowds.  She  suggested  that  we  should 
follow  their  example.  We  readily  agreed,  and  all 
through  that  summer  and  autumn  we  held  these  meet- 
ings, going  from  Stalybridge  to  Royton,  Mosely, 
Oldham,  Lees  where  Annie  lived,  and  to  a  dozen 
other  towns. 




Arrest  and  Imprisonment  of  Christabel  Pankhurst 
AND  Annie  Kenney.    October,  1905. 

Whilst  the  educational  propaganda  work  of  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  was  being 
quietly  carried  on,  stirring  events  were  in  prepara- 
tion. The  resignation  of  the  Conservative  Govern- 
ment was  daily  expected.  The  Liberal  leaders  were 
preparing  themselves  to  take  office,  and  every  news- 
paper In  the  country  was  discussing  who  the  new 
Ministers  were  to  be.  A  stir  of  excitement  was 
spreading  all  over  the  country  and  now  the  organ- 
isers of  the  Liberal  Party  decided  to  hold  a  great 
revival  meeting  In  that  historic  Manchester  Free 
Trade  Hall,  which  stands  upon  the  site  pf  the  old 
franchise  battle  of  Peterloo.  The  meeting  was 
fixed  for  October  13,  and  here  It  was  determined 
that  the  old  fighting  spirit  of  the  Radicals  should 
be  revived,  the  principles  and  policy  of  Liberalism 
should  be  proclaimed  anew  and,  upon  the  strength  of 
those  principles  and  of  that  policy,  the  people  should 
be  called  upon  to  support  the  Incoming  Government 
with  voice  and  vote. 

When  the  evening  of  the  thirteenth  came,  the 
great  hall  was  filled  to  overflowing  with  an  audience 



mainly  composed  of  enthusiastic  Liberals,  for  the 
meeting  was  almost  entirely  a  ticket  one,  and  the 
tickets  had  been  circulated  amongst  the  Liberal  Asso- 
ciations throughout  the  length  and  breadth  of  Lanca- 
shire. The  organ  played  victorious  music,  and  then 
the  Liberal  men,  whose  party  had  been  out  of  office 
for  so  long  and  who  now  saw  it  coming  into  power, 
rose  to  their  feet  and  cheered  excitedly  as  their  lead- 
ers came  into  the  hall.  After  a  few  brief  words  from 
the  chairman,  words  in  which  he  struck  a  note  of 
triumphant  confidence  in  the  approaching  Liberal 
victory.  Sir  Edward  Grey  was  called  upon  to  speak. 
The  future  Cabinet  Minister,  in  a  speech  full  of  fine 
sentiments  and  glowing  promises,  named  all  the 
various  great  reforms  that  the  Liberal  Government 
would  introduce,  and  appealed  to  the  people  to  give 
the-  Liberal  Party  its  confidence,  and  to  return  a 
Liberal  ministry  to  power.  Whilst  he  was  speaking. 
Sir  Edward  Grey  was  interrupted  by  a  man  who 
asked  him  what  the  Government  proposed  to  do  for 
the  unemployed.  Sir  Edward  paused  with  ready 
courtesy  to  listen.  "  Somebody  said  the  unem- 
ployed," he  explained  to  the  audience;  "well,  I  will 
come  to  that,"  and  he  did  so,  saying  that  this  im- 
portant question  would  certainly  be  dealt  with.  Then 
he  came  to  his  peroration ;  he  spoke  of  the  difficulties 
of  administration,  difficulties  which  were  especially 
great  at  the  present  time.  *'  We  ask  for  the  Liberal 
Party,"  he  said,  **  the  same  chance  as  the  Conserva- 
tive Party  has  had  for  nearly  twenty  years.  .  .  . 
There  Is  no  hope  in  the  present  men,  but  there  is  hope 
in  new  men.  .  .  .  It  is  to  new  men  with  fresh 
minds,  untrammelled  by  prejudice  and  quickened  by 
sympathy,  and  who  are  vigorous  and  true,  that  I 


believe  that  the  country  will  turn  with  hope.  What 
I  ask  for  them  is  generous  support  and  a  fair 
chance."  The  thunder  of  applause  that  greeted  his 
final  words  had  scarcely  died  away  when,  as  if  in 
answer  to  Sir  Edward  Grey's  appeal  and  promise,  a 
little  white  cotton  banner,  inscribed  with  the  words, 
"Votes  for  Women,"  was  put  up  in  the  centre 
of  the  hall,  and  a  woman  was  heard  asking  what 
the  Government  would  do  to  make  the  women  politi- 
cally free.  Almost  simultaneously  two  or  three  men 
were  upon  their  feet  demanding  information  upon 
other  questions.  The  men  were  at  once  replied  to, 
but  the  woman's  question  was  ignored.  She  there- 
fore stood  up  again  and  pressed  for  an  answer  to 
her  question,  but  the  men  sitting  near  her  forced  her 
down  into  her  seat,  and  one  of  the  stewards  of  the 
meeting  held  his  hat  over  her  face.  Meanwhile, 
the  hall  was  filled  with  a  babel  of  conflicting  sound. 
Shouts  of  "  Sit  down  I  "  "  Be  quiet  I  "  "  What's  the 
matter?"  and  "Let  the  lady  speak  1"  were  heard 
on  every  hand.  As  the  noise  subsided  a  little,  a  sec- 
ond woman  sitting  beside  the  first  got  up  and  asked 
again,  **  Will  the  Liberal  Government  give  women 
the  vote?"  but  Sir  Edward  Grey  made  no  answer, 
and  again  arose  the  tumult  of  cries  and  counter  cries. 
Then  the  Chief  Constable  of  Manchester,  Mr. 
William  Peacock,  came  down  from  the  platform  to 
where  the  women  were  sitting,  and  asked  them  to 
write  out  the  question  that  they  had  put  to  Sir 
Edward  Grey,  saying  that  he  would  himself  take  it 
to  the  Chairman  and  make  sure  that  it  received  a 
reply.  The  women  agreed  to  this  suggestion,  and 
the  one  who  had  first  spoken  now  wrote: 


Will    the   Liberal   Government   give   votes   to   working 
women  ? 

Signed  on  behalf  of  the  Women's  Social  and  Political 


Member  of  the  Oldham  Committee  of  the 

Card  and  Blowing  Room  Operatives. 

To  this  she  added  that  as  one  of  the  96,000  organ- 
ised women  cotton  workers,  and  for  their  sake,  she 
earnestly  desired  an  answer.  Mr.  Peacock  took  the 
paper  on  which  the  question  had  been  written  back 
to  the  platform,  and  was  seen  to  hand  it  to  Sir 
Edward  Grey,  who,  having  read  it,  smiled  and  passed 
it  to  the  Chairman,  from  whom  it  went  the  round  of 
every  speaker  in  turn.  Then  it  was  laid  aside,  and 
no  answer  was  returned  to  it.  A  lady,  sitting  on  the 
platform,  who  had  noticed  and  understood  all  that 
was  going  on,  now  tried  to  intervene.^  "  May  I, 
as  a  woman,  be  allowed  to  speak — ?"  she  began, 
but  the  Chairman  called  on  Lord  Durham  to  move 
a  vote  of  thanks  to  Sir  Edward  Grey.  When  this 
vote  had  been  seconded  by  Mr.  Winston  Churchill, 
and  when  it  had  afterwards  been  carried.  Sir  Edward 
Grey  rose  to  reply.  But  he  made  no  reference, 
either  to  the  enfranchisement  of  women,  or  to  the 
question  which  had  been  put.  Then  followed  the 
carrying  of  a  vote  of  thanks  to  the  Chair,  and  by 
this  time  the  meeting  showed  signs  of  breaking  up. 
Some  of  the  audience  had  left  the  hall,  and  some  of 
the  people  on  the  platform  were  preparing  to  go. 
The  women's  question  still  remained  unanswered  and 

^  She  had  no  connection  with  the  two  women,  and  no  previous 
knowledge  that  the  question  was  to  be  put. 


seemed  in  danger  of  being  forgotten  by  everyone  con- 
cerned. But  the  two  women  were  anxiously  await- 
ing a  reply,  and  the  one  who  had  first  spoken  now  rose 
again,  and  this  time  she  stood  up  upon  her  seat  and 
called  out  as  loudly  as  she  could,  **  Will  the  Liberal 
Government  give  working  women  the  vote?"  At 
once  the  audience  became  a  seething,  infuriated  mob. 
Thousands  of  angry  men  were  upon  their  feet  shout- 
ing, gesticulating,  and  crying  out  upon  the  woman 
who  had  again  dared  to  disturb  their  meeting. 

She  stood  there  above  them  all,  a  little,  slender, 
fragile  figure.  She  had  taken  off  her  hat,  and  her 
soft,  loosely  flowing  hair  gave  her  a  childish  look; 
her  cheeks  were  flushed  and  her  blue  eyes  blazing 
with  earnestness.  It  was  Annie  Kenney,  the  mill 
girl,  who  had  gone  to  work  in  an  Oldham  cotton 
factory  as  a  little  half-timer  at  ten  years  of  age. 
A  working  woman,  the  child  of  a  working  woman, 
whose  life  had  been  passed  among  the  workers,  she 
stood  there  now,  feeling  herself  to  be  the  represen- 
tative of  thousands  of  struggling  women,  and  in  their 
name  she  asked  for  justice.  But  the  Liberal  leaders, 
who  had  spoken  so  glibly  of  sympathy  for  the  poor 
and  needy,  were  silent  now,  when  one  stood  there 
asking  for  justice ;  and  their  followers,  who  had  list- 
ened so  eagerly  and  applauded  with  so  much  en- 
thusiasm, speeches  filled  with  the  praise  of  liberty 
and  equality,  were  thinking  now  of  nothing  but 
Liberal  victories.  They  howled  at  her  fiercely,  and 
numbers  of  Liberal  stewards  came  hurrying  to  drag 
her  down.  Then  Christabel  Pankhurst,  her  com- 
panion, started  up  and  put  one  arm  around  Annie 
Kenney's  waist,  and  with  the  other  warded  off  their 
blows,  and  as  she  did  so,  they  scratched  and  tore 


her  hands  until  the  blood  ran  down  on  Annie's  hat 
that  lay  upon  the  seat,  and  stained  it  red,  whilst 
she  still  called,  "  The  question,  the  question,  answer 
the  question  1  "  So,  holding  together,  these  two 
women  fought  for  votes  as  their  forefathers  had 
done,  upon  the  site  of  Peterloo. 

At  last  six  men.  Liberal  stewards  and  policemen 
in  plain  clothes,  seized  Christabel  Pankhurst  and 
dragged  her  away  down  the  central  aisle  and  past 
the  platform,  then  others  followed  bringing  Annie 
Kenney  after  her.  As  they  were  forced  along  the 
women  still  looked  up  and  called  for  an  answer  to 
their  question,  and  still  the  Liberal  leaders  on  the 
platform  looked  on  apparently  unmoved  and  never 
said  a  word.  As  they  saw  the  women  dragged  away, 
the  men  in  the  front  seats  —  the  ticket  holders  from 
the  Liberal  clubs  —  shouted  "Throw  them  outl" 
but  from  the  free  seats  at  the  back,  the  people  an- 
swered "  Shame ! " 

Having  been  flung  out  into  the  street,  the  two 
women  decided  to  hold  an  indignation  meeting  there, 
and  so,  dt  the  corner  of  Peter  Street  and  South 
Street,  close  to  the  hall,  they  began  to  speak,  but 
within  a  few  minutes,  they  were  arrested,  and  fol- 
lowed by  hundreds  of  men  and  women,  were  dragged 
to  the  Town  Hall.  Here  they  were  both  charged 
with  obstruction,  and  Christabel  Pankhurst  was  also 
accused  of  assaulting  the  police.  They  were  sum- 
moned to  attend  the  Police  Court  in  Minshull  Street 
next  morning. 

Meanwhile,  as  soon  as  the  women  had  been 
thrown  out  of  the  hall,  there  came  a  revulsion  of 
feeling  in  their  favour  and  the  greater  part  of  the 
meeting  broke  up  in  disorder.     Believing  that  some 


explanation  was  expected  of  him,  Sir  Edward  Grey 
now  said  that  he  regretted  the  disturbance  which  had 
taken  place.  "  I  am  not  sure  "  he  continued  *'  that 
unwittingly  and  in  innocence  I  have  not  been  a  con- 
tributing cause.  As  far  as  I  can  understand,  the 
trouble  arose  from  a  desire  to  know  my  opinion  on 
the  subject  of  Women's  Suffrage.  That  is  a  ques- 
tion which  I  would  not  deal  with  here  to-night  be- 
cause it  is  not,  and  I  do  not  think  it  is  likely  to 
be,  a  party  question."  He  added  that  he  had  al- 
ready given  his  opinion  upon  votes  for  women  and 
that,  as  he  did  not  think  it  a  "  fitting  subject  for 
this  evening,"  he  would  not  repeat  it. 

Thus,  within  a  few  days  of  the  fortieth  anniversary 
of  the  formation  of  the  first  Women's  Suffrage  So- 
ciety (perhaps  even  upon  that  very  anniversary), 
and  after  forty  years  of  persevering  labour  for  this 
cause.  Sir  Edward  Grey  announced  that  Women's 
Suffrage  was  as  yet  far  outside  the  realm  of  practical 
politics,  and  the  two  women  who  had  dared  to  ques- 
tion him  upon  this  subject  were  flung  with  violence 
and  insult  from  the  hall. 

The  next  morning  the  police  court  was  crowded 
with  people  eager  to  hear  the  trial.  The  two  girls 
refused  to  dispute  the  police  evidence  as  to  the 
charges  of  assault  and  obstruction,  and  based  their 
defence  solely  upon  the  principle  that  their  conduct 
was  justified  by  the  importance  of  the  question  upon 
which  they  had  endeavoured  to  secure  a  pronounce- 
ment and  by  the  outrageous  treatment  which  they 
had  received.  But  though  ignoring  the  violence  to 
which  they  had  been  subjected  and  exaggerating  the 
disturbance  which  they  had  made,  the  Counsel  for 
the  prosecution  had  dwelt  at  length  upon  the  scene 


in  the  Free  Trade  Hall ;  the  women  were  not  allowed 
to  refer  to  it  and,  though  it  was  evident  that  but 
for  what  had  taken  place  in  the  meeting  they  would 
not  have  been  arrested  for  speaking  in  the  street, 
they  were  ordered  to  confine  their  remarks  to  what 
had  taken  place  after  they  had  been  ejected.  Both 
defendants  were  found  guilty,  Christabel  Pankhurst 
being  ordered  to  pay  a  fine  of  ten  shillings  or  to  go 
to  prison  for  seven  days  and  Annie  Kenney  being 
fined  five  shillings  with  the  alternative  of  three  days' 
imprisonment.  They  both  refused  to  pay  the  fines 
and  were  immediately  hurried  away  to  the  cells. 

Now  the  whole  country  rang  with  the  story.  In 
Manchester  especially,  the  news  created  tremendous 
excitement.  The  father  of  one  of  the  prisoners, 
was,  as  we  have  seen,  a  Manchester  man.  Dr. 
Pankhurst's  *  remarkable  ability  and  learning,  his 
wonderful  eloquence,  his  wide  range  of  interests,  and 
the  number  of  causes  in  which  he  had  taken  a  fore- 
most part,  had  secured  for  him  an  unusually  large 
amount  of  public  recognition.  There  was  scarcely 
a  man  or  woman  in  the  city  to  whom  he  was  not 
a  familiar  figure.  Moreover,  his  fascinating  person- 
ality, and  his  well-known  tenderness  of  heart,  illus- 
trated as  it  was  by  thousands  of  kindly  acts,  as  well 
as  by  his  long  life  of  service  and  sacrifice  for  the 
public  good,  had  endeared  him  to  many  of  his  strong- 
est political  opponents.  Whatever  bitterness  may 
have  been  aroused  against  him  by  his  strenuous  ad- 
vocacy of  advanced  and  frequently  unpopular  causes, 
had  disappeared  when  the  news  of  his  sudden  death, 
which  took  place  in  the  midst  of  a  legal  case  that 
he  was  conducting  on  behalf  of  the  Manchester  Cor- 

1  See  biographical  note  at  the  end  of  this  chapter. 


poration,  had  become  known,  and  public  sympathy 
had  gone  generously  forth  to  Mrs.  Pankhurst  in  her 
tragic  home-coming  when  she  had  read  of  her  great 
loss  in  the  evening  papers  in  the  train.  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  by  her  work  on  public  bodies  vas  also 
known  of  course,  and  Christabel  Pankhurst  herself 
had  recently  attracted  notice  because,  having  wished 
to  follow  her  father's  profession,  she  had  applied 
to  the  Benchers  of  Lincoln's  Inn  for  admission  to 
the  Bar.  Her  application  had  been  refused  on  the 
ground  of  her  sex,  as  had  also  a  request  to  be  heard 
by  the  Benchers  in  support  of  her  claim,  but  she 
had  not  abandoned  her  endeavours  to  secure  the 
opening  of  this  avenue  of  employment  to  women  and 
she  was  now  a  Law  student  at  the  Victoria  Univer- 
sity of  Manchester. 

Votes  for  Women  in  those  days  was  regarded  by 
the  majority  of  sober,  level-headed  men  as  a  ladies' 
fad  which  would  never  come  to  anything  and  the 
idea  that  it  could  ever  be  a  question  upon  which 
governments  would  stand  or  fall,  or  be  associated 
with  persecution,  rioting  and  imprisonment  had  been 
alike  unthinkable  to  them.  Therefore,  for  many 
reasons,  this  trial  and  imprisonment  came  as  a  tre- 
mendous shock  to  the  general  public  of  Manchester. 
Questions  addressed  to  political  speakers  by  men  in 
the  audience  both  during  and  at  the  close  of  the 
speeches  were,  as  everyone  knew,  the  invariable  ac- 
companiment of  every  public  political  meeting  in  this 
country.  These  questions  were  almost  always  re- 
plied to.  When  dissatisfied  with  the  answer  the 
interrogators  frequently  began  a  running  commen- 
tary of  disapproval,  which  sometimes  terminated  in 
their  ejection,  but  not  until  they  had  become  a  source 


of  general  disturbance  to  the  meeting.  These  facts 
were  of  course  a  matter  of  common  knowledge,  but 
the  newspapers  now  ignored  them  and  treated  the 
questioning  of  Sir  Edward  Grey  in  the  manner 
adopted  by  the  two  women  in  the  Free  Trade  Hall 
as  an  absolutely  new  and  entirely  reprehensible  de- 
parture. They  were  all  agreed  that  such  behaviour 
would  inevitably  injure  the  Women's  Suffrage  Cause 
of  which,  though  they  had  hitherto  boycotted  it, 
most  of  them  now  implied  that  they  were  supporters. 
Extracts  from  two  newspapers  are  enough  to  con- 
vey the  attitude  which  in  varying  degrees  of  severity 
was  adopted  by  them  all.     The  Evening  Standard: 

The  Magistrates  were  lenient  in  inflicting  a  small  fine. 
.  .  .  If  Miss  Pankhurst  desires  to  go  to  gaol  rather 
than  pay  the  money,  let  her  go.  Our  only  regret  is  that 
the  discipline  will  be  identical  with  that  experienced  by 
mature  and  sensible  women,  and  not  that  which  falls  to 
the  lot  of  children  in  the  nursery. 

The  Birmingham  Daily  Mail: — 

If  any  argument  were  required  against  giving  to  ladies 
political  status  and  power,  it  has  been  furnished  >  in  Man- 
chester, and  by  two  of  the  people  who  are  most  strenuously 
clamouring  for  the  franchise. 

The  reason  why  the  Press  as  a  whole  was  against 
the  women  was  of  course  because  every  great  news- 
paper in  this  country  is  a  special  pleader,  for  one  or 
other  of  the  two  great  political  Parties  —  the  Liberals 
and  the  Conservatives  —  and  both  these  Parties 
looked  upon  the  question  which  the  w6men  were 
striving  to  urge  forward,  as  something  of  a  nuisance. 
Unfortunately,  vast  numbers  of  people,  instead  of 


examining  into  and  thinking  out  a  thing  for  them- 
selves, begin,  at  any  rate,  by  allowing  their  opinions 
to  be  formed  for  them  by  the  particular  newspapers 
which  they  happen  to  read.  Therefore  some  people 
at  once  made  up  their  minds  that  the  women  were 
entirely  in  the  wrong,  because  the  papers  said  so. 
Others,  with  strange  obliquity  of  vision,  because 
they  did  not  like  the  idea  of  women  mixing  them- 
selves up  in  scenes  of  violence,  found  it  easier  to  dis- 
approve of  the  women  who  had  been  lU-used  than  of 
those  who  had  ill-used  them.  Besides  the  unthinking 
ones,  there  were  also  many  who  had  become  so  much 
inflamed  by  Party  spirit  that  their  sole  idea  was  to 
whitewash  and  bolster  up  the  Liberal  leaders  and 
to  cast  a  slur  upon  the  character  of  any  who  had 
dared  to  turn  too  fierce  a  light  upon  their  faults 
and  weaknesses. 

But  with  all  this  the  imprisoned  women  were  not 
friendless  and  though  for  the  time  being,  stone  walls 
and  iron  bars  might  prevent  their  speaking,  there 
were  those  outside  who  were  determined  to  defend 
and  uphold  them  and  to  turn  what  they  had  done 
to  good.  The  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union 
at  once  published  a  statement  explaining  that 
in  view  of  the  approaching  general  election  the 
intentions  of  the  Liberal  leaders  with  regard  to 
Women's  Suffrage  had  been  recognised  to  be  of 
immense  importance,  and  Sir  Edward  Grey  had 
therefore  been  asked  to  receive  a  deputation  of 
members  of  the  Union,  in  which  the  questions  it 
was  desired  that  he  should  answer  were  clearly 
stated.  No  reply  or  acknowledgment  of  this  re- 
quest had  been  received,  and  It  had  thereupon  been 
decided  that  two  delegates  from  the  Union  should 

Christabel  Pankhurst  and  Annie  Kenney 


attend  the  Free  Trade  Hall  meeting  to  question 
Sir  Edward  Grey. 

Many  who  witnessed  the  scene  in  the  Free  Trade 
Hall  wrote  to  the  newspapers  expressing  their  sym- 
pathy with  the  women. 

A  "  sympathiser  "  apologised  for  having  helped  to 
shout  the  women  down  saying  that  he  would  never 
have  done  so  had  he  realised  what  was  really  taking 
place.  On  first  reading  the  accounts,  Mr.  Keir 
Hardie,  the  only  Member  of  Parliament  to  come  for- 
ward in  support  of  the  prisoners,  telegraphed,  "  The 
thing  is  a  dastardly  outrage,  but  do  not  worry,  it  will 
do  immense  good  to  the  Cause.  Can  I  do  anything  ?  " 
Sir  Edward  Grey's  wife,  Lady  Grey,  made  no  public 
statement  but  she  told  her  friends  that  she  considered 
the  women  justified  in  the  means  they  had  adopted 
of  forcing  their  question  forward.  "  What  else 
could  they  do?"  she  asked.  Whilst  Mr.  Winston 
Churchill,  fearing  probably  that  his  approaching 
candidature  in  Manchester  might  be  damaged  by  the 
imprisonment  of  the  women,  visited  Strangeways 
Gaol  and  offered  to  pay  their  fines,  but  the  Govern- 
or refused  to  accept  the  money  from  him. 

On  Friday,  October  20,  a  crowded  demonstration 
was  held  to  welcome  the  Ex-prisoners  in  the  Free 
Trade  Hall  from  which  they  had  been  flung  out 
with  ignominy  but  a  week  before,  and  now,  as  they 
entered,  the  audience  rose  with  raised  hats  and  wav- 
ing handkerchiefs  and  greeted  them  with  cheers. 
Christabel  Pankhurst  and  Annie  Kenney  did  not 
speak  of  their  imprisonment.  We  knew  that  they 
had  been  treated  as  belonging  to  the  third  and  lowest 
class  of  criminals,  and  that  they  had  been  dressed 
in  the  prison  clothes,  fed  on  "  skilly  "  and  brown 


bread,  and  kept  in  solitary  confinement  in  a  narrow 
cell  both  day  and  night ;  that  they  had  attended  serv- 
ices with  the  other  prisoners  in  die  Chapel  and  with 
them  had  gone  out  to  exercise  in  the  prison  yard, 
that  they  had  performed  the  daily  routine  of  prison 
tasks  and,  losing  their  own.  names,  had  answered 
only  to  the  number  of  their  cell.  These  things  we 
know,  but  they  refused  to  speak  of  them  then,  wish- 
ing that  all  attention  should  be  concentrated  upon 
the  cause  of  the  enfranchisement  of  women  for  which 
they  had  been  willing  to  endure  all. 

But  in  spite  of  their  own  silence  we  have  one  pic- 
ture of  Christabel  during  that  first  imprisonment.  It 
was  brought  out  to  us  by  one  of  the  Visiting  Justices, 
a  friend  of  her  father,  who,  in  the  hope  of  inducing 
her  to  allow  her  fine  to  be  paid,  had  gone  in  to  see  her 
in  the  prison  cell.  He  found  her  clad  in  strangely 
made,  coarse  serge  garments,  with  large  heavy  shoes 
upon  her  feet  and  with  a  white  cap  framing  her 
rosy  face,  and  partly  covering  her  soft  brown  hair. 
Seated  on  a  wooden  stool  she  was  working  away  at 
her  allotted  task  —  the  making  of  a  shirt  for  one 
of  the  men  prisoners.  Her  dinner,  consisting  of 
two  or  three  small  sodden-looking  unpeeled  potatoes 
and  a  chunk  of  coarse  brown  bread,  was  lying  be- 
side her  and  she  was  taking  a  bite  of  the  bread  every 
now  and  then.  "  Don't  you  think  you're  a  very 
silly  girl  to  sit  here  eating  brown  bread  and  potatoes 
and  sewing  that  shirt  when  you  might  be  freely  do- 
ing what  you  please  outside  ?  "  the  Justice  asked  her. 
But  she  smiled  up  at  him  brightly  '*  Oh,  no,"  she 
said,  "  I  always  liked  brown  bread." 

Fresh  and  bright  and  full  of  cheer  as  she  had 
been  in  her  cell,  though  more  serious,  she  was  now. 


as  she  stood  on  the  Free  Trade  Hall  platform  to 
make  her  speech.  When  she  began  to  tell  the  meet- 
ing of  the  disturbance  that  had  taken  place  upon  the 
previous  Friday  there  were  some  cries  of  protest 
from  Liberals  who  disagreed  with  her,  but  she 
stopped  them  saying  "  I  am  sure  you  want  to  hear 
my  side  of  the  story,"  and  when  she  had  finished, 
Resolutions  calling  for  the  immediate  extension  of 
th^  franchise  to  women,  commending  the  bravery  of 
the  released  prisoners'  action  and  condemning  the 
behaviour  of  those  who  had  refused  to  answer  their 
question  were  carried  with  tremendous  enthusiasm. 


In  addition  to  his  activities  for  Women's  Suffrage,  and 
indeed,  for  all  questions  affecting  the  welfare  of  women, 
which  have  been  already  referred  to,  Dr.  Pankhurst  had 
taken  an  important  part  in  many  other  reform  movements. 
He  had  been  one  of  the  most  distinguished  of  the  students 
of  Owen's  College  which  paved  the  way  for,  and  became 
incorporated  with,  the  newer  Victoria  University  of  Man- 
chester. Having  studied  at  Owen's,  he  had  taken  his  B.A. 
degree  at  the  London  University  in  1858,  his  LL.B.,  with 
honours  in  Principles  of  Legislation  in  1859,  ^md  LL.D. 
with  the  gold  medal  in  1863.  Called  to  the  Bar  in  Lin- 
coln's Inn  in  1867  he  had  joined  the  Northern  Circuit  and 
become  a  member  of  the  Bar  of  the  County  Palatine  and 
Lancaster  Chancery  Court.  He  had  been  Honorary  Secre- 
tary to  the  Union  of  Lancashire  and  Cheshire  Institutes 
from  1863  to  1876  in  which  years  he  had  laboured  zealously 
in  the  promotion  of  education,  devoting  much  time  to  visit- 
ing the  various  Mechanics  Institutes,  which  largely  owing 
to  his  work  were  beginning  to  spring  up  as  the  forerunners 
of  the  Technical  Schools  and  Municipal  Evening  Classes  of 
to-day,  teaching  and  addressing  the  students  on  educational 


questions,  and  enlisting  public  sympathy  in  this  important 
work.  Later,  when  in  1893,  the  subject  of  citizenship  had, 
owing  primarily  to  his  influence,  been  made  a  part  of  the 
teaching  of  the  evening  continuation  schools  in  Manchester, 
Dr.  Pankhurst  had  issued  a  scheme  of  political  studies  in 
the  form  of  an  outline  of  political  and  social  theory,  and 
in  1894  he  had  delivered  a  series  of  addresses  on  the  *'  Life 
and  Duties  of  Citizenship,"  which  were  afterwards  published. 
In  1882  he  had  become  a  member  of  the  Manchester  Cham- 
ber of  Commerce  and  was  recognised  to  be  an  authority 
upon  many  commercial  questions.  He  was  one  of  the 
earliest  and  most  active  workers  of  the  Social  Science 
Association  which  did  so  much  to  educate  public  opin- 
ion upon  many  questions  affecting  the  welfare  of  women 
and  the  community  in  general.  Dr.  Pankhurst  had  also 
been  the  author  of  many  important  papers  oh  the  Patent 
Laws,  Local  Courts  and  Tribunals,  International  Law, 
the  study  of  Jurisprudence,  and  other  subjects.  He  had 
interested  himself  greatly  in  public  health  and  the  gen- 
eral field  of  sanitation,  and  had  been  concerned  in  many 
public  inquiries  in  regard  to  this  matter.  He  had  been  a 
life  member  of  the  Association  for  the  Reform  and  Codifica- 
tion of  the  Law  of  Nations,  and  had  laid  before  that  body 
a  scheme  of  international  arbitration  as  a  substitute  for  war, 
a  principle  for  which  he  had  for  many  years  strenuously 
contended.  He  had  three  times  been  a  candidate  for  Par- 
liament, having  contested  Manchester  in  1883,  Rotherhithe 
in  1885,  aJ^d  Gorton  in  1895,  but  because,  admittedly,  he 
was  too  fearlessly  honest  and  outspoken  he  had  on  each  occa- 
sion failed  to  secure  election.  Even  by  his  bitterest  political 
opponents  he  was  respected,  for  it  was  a  matter  of  common 
knowledge  that,  for  the  sake  of  his  principles,  he  had  over 
and  over  again  sacrificed  his  own  material  advancement. 
He  had  begun  life  as  an  advanced  Radical,  having  been  a 
friend  of  John  Stuart  Mill,  also  of  Ernest  Jones,  and  other 
well-known  Chartists.  So  long  ago  as  1873  he  had  been 
a  pronounced  Home  Ruler.     He  had  been  a  member  of 


the  executive  of  the  National  Reform  Union,  and  the  dec- 
laration of  principles  which  he  had  issued  in  his  candidature 
of  1 883  has  been  ascribed  as  "  a  third  Charter  in  itself." 
By  his  fearless  championship  of  their  interests,  and  his  sym- 
pathy for  them  in  time  of  trouble,  he  had  especially  en- 
deared himself  to  the  working  people.  So  early  as  the  days 
of  George  Odger  and  other  leaders  of  the  Labour  cause, 
he  had  taken  part  in  a  movement  which  resulted  in  the  re- 
casting of  the  labour  laws.  He  had  acted  as  arbitrator  for 
the  men  in  many  cases  of  trade  dispute.  Whilst  taking  an 
active  part  in  the  effort  to  secure  both  the  later  extensions 
of  the  franchise  which  took  place  in  1867  and  1884,  D^*- 
Pankhurst  had,  as  we  have  seen,  done  all  he  could  to  get 
women  included  under  them. 


After  the  inauguration  of  the  militant  tactics  on 
October  13th,  we  determined  not  to  let  the  matter 
rest  until  we  had  obtained  a  definite  pledge  that  the 
incoming  Liberal  Government  would  give  votes  to 
women.  On  December  4th  came  the  long-expected 
resignation  of  Mr.  Balfour,  and  the  King  then  called 
upon  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman,  the  Liberal 
leader,  to  form  an  Administration.  It  was  now  an- 
nounced that  a  great  demonstration  should  be  held 
on  December  21st  in  the  Royal  Albert  Hall,  at  which, 
surrounded  by  every  member  of  his  Cabinet,  Sir 
Henry  should  make  his  first  public  utterance  as  Prime 

The  importance  of  raising  our  question  at  this 
meeting  was  of  course  apparent,  and  we  at  once 
endeavoured  to  procure  tickets  of  admission.  But, 
even  so  early  in  the  fight  as  this,  the  Liberals  did 
not  scruple  to  refuse  tickets  to  women  who  might 
be  going  to  ask  awkward  questions.  On  one  occa- 
sion just  as  two  tickets  were  about  to  be  delivered 
over  to  me,  I  was  accused  of  having  questioned 
Mr.  Asqulth  at  a  meeting  in  the  Queen's  Hall,  and, 
though  I  had  really  not  been  present  at  that  meet- 
ing, I  was  obliged  to  go  away  empty-handed.  I  had 
been  mistaken  for  Annie  Kenney  who  had  come  to 
London  to  attend  both  the  Queen's  Hall  and  the 


THE  GENERAL  ELECTION  OF  1906     41 

Albert  Hall  meetings.  We  both  of  us  thought  the 
incident  most  absurd,  for  we  do  not  in  any  way 
resemble  each  other.  But  it  put  us  on  our  guard, 
and  when  on  the  very  morning  of  the  Albert  Hall 
meeting,  a  friend  sent  me  three  tickets,  we  made  up 
our  minds  that  they  should  not  be  rendered  useless 
by  those  ,who  presented  them  being  turned  away  at 
the  doors.  I  had  been  twice  interviewed  in  two 
different  sets  of  clothes  by  the  Liberal  officials  who 
had  eventually  refused  me  the  tickets  and  Annie  her- 
self had  been  paraded  before  a  row  of  stewards;  it 
was  therefore  clear  that  if  either  of  us  went  to  the 
meeting  we  must  go  disguised.  We  decided  at  last 
that  the  three  tickets  should  be  used  by  Theresa 
Billington,  who  had  recently  joined  the  Union  and 
was  coming  from  Manchester  for  the  meeting,  by 
Annie  herself,  and  by  a  working  woman  from  the 
East  End,  a  recent  convert.  Nevertheless,  we  in- 
tended first  to  give  the  Prime  Minister  a  chance  to 
answer  fairly,  so  that  no  disturbance  need  be  made. 
Shortly  before  the  meeting,  therefore,  Annie  Kenney 
dispatched  by  express  messenger  a  letter  to  Sir  Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman  on  behalf  of  our  Union,  ask- 
ing him  whether  the  new  Government  would  give 
Women  the  vote,  and  stating  that  she  should  be 
in  the  hall  that  night  in  the  hope  that  this  important 
question  would  be  answered  without  delay.  If  this 
were  not  done,  she  added  that  she  should  feel 
bound  to  rise  in  her  place  and  make  a  protest. 

The  next  thing  to  do  was  to  disguise  Annie.  We 
understood  that  most  of  the  ladies  would  wear 
evening  gowns,  but  it  was  essential  to  show  as  little 
of  her  face,  neck,  and  hair  as  possible,  so,  after 
dressing  her  up  in  a  light  cream-coloured   frock, 


we  added  a  fur  coat  and  a  thick  dark  veil.  She 
told  us  afterwards  that  she  felt  very  hot  in  these 
clothes  which  she  was  afraid  to  remove,  but,  with 
the  little  East  End  convert  walking  closely  behind 
her  as  her  maid,  she  was  allowed  by  the  scrutineers 
to  pass  into  a  private  box  which  we  afterwards  found 
had  been  specially  set  apart  for  the  use  of  Mr.  John 
Burns'  family  and  friends. 

The  immense  brilliantly  lighted  hall  was  filled 
from  floor  to  ceiling.  The  platform  was  gaily 
decorated  with  flowers.  As  the  Prime  Minister 
began  to  speak  Annie  Kenney  sat  anxiously  awaiting 
his  answer,  and  at  last,  as  he  did  not  give  it,  she 
rose  suddenly  up  and  hanging  over  the  edge  of  the 
box  a  little  white  calico  banner  with  the  words 
**  Votes  for  Women "  painted  upon  it  in  black 
letters,  she  called  out  in  a  loud  clear  voice,  "  Will 
the  Liberal  Government  give  women  the  vote?" 
Immediately  afterwards  came  an  answering  cry  from 
the  opposite  end  of  the  hall,  and  Theresa  Billington 
let  down  from  the  orchestra  above  the  platform  a 
great  banner,  nine  feet  in  length  inscribed  in  black 
with  the  words  "  Will  the  Liberal  Government  give 
justice  to  working-women?"  For  a  moment  there 
was  a  hush,  whilst  the  people  waited  for  the  Prime 
Minister's  answer,  but  he  and  his  Cabinet  remained 
silent.  Then  the  whole  vast  audience  broke  into 
a  tumultuous,  conflicting  uproar,  in  the  ntidst  of 
which  the  Chairman  vainly  called  for  order.  The 
organ  played  to  drown  the  women's  questions,  and 
the  women  were  flung  out  of  the  hall. 

The  next  day  we  returned  to  Manchester  for 
Christmas  to  find  that  Christabel  was  already  plan- 
ning a  General  Election  campaign,  and  all  through 

THE  GENERAL  ELECTION  OF  igo6     43 

the  holidays,  whilst  Cabinet  Ministers  were  resting 
from  their  labours,  we  were  busy  making  white 
calico  banners,  and  inscribing  them  in  black  letters 
with  the  fateful  words,  "  Votes  for  Women  "  and 
"  Will  the  Liberal  Government  give  women  the 
vote?  "  We  had  no  longer  a  doubt  either  that  the 
new  Liberal  Government  was  hostile  to  our  cause 
or  that  it  was  our  duty  to  fight  them  until  they  were 
ready  to  capitulate  or  to  retire  from  office.  Had  it 
been  possible  we  should  have  opposed  the  election 
of  every  candidate  running  under  their  auspices,  but 
as  we  had  neither  the  funds  nor  the  membership  for 
so  extensive  a  work,  we  decided  to  carry  out  a  defi- 
nite Election  campaign  against  one  member  of 
the  Government, —  Mr.  Winston  Churchill.  Mr. 
Churchill  was  selected  not  for  any  personal  feeling 
against  him,  but  because  he  was  the  most  important 
of  the  Liberal  candidates  who  were  standing  for 
constituencies  within  easy  reach  of  our  home. 

On  the  opening  night  of  the  campaign  Mr. 
Churchill  had  arranged  to  hold  several  meetings  in 
halls  in  different  parts  of  his  constituency  and,  as  the 
intentions  of  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union 
were  now  well-known,  considerable  excitement  and 
expectancy  prevailed.  The  first  meeting  was  held 
in  a  school  at  Cheetham  Hill.  There  were  a  num- 
ber of  doors  to  the  meeting  room,  one  opening  In 
the  middle  of  a  side  wall  and  communicating  with 
a  passage  leading  from  the  main  entrance  to  the 
building;  another,  a  big  emergency  exit  at  the  back 
of  the  room  farthest  from  the  platform,  and  several 
others  on  each  side  of  the  platform  opening  Into 
class-rooms  and  ante-rooms.  The  first  of  these 
doors  was  the  one  by  which  the  audience  came  In. 


No  tickets  were  needed  and  the  solitary  Suf- 
fragette who  presented  herself  was  able  to  walk 
quietly  in  unnoticed  and  to  take  a  seat  in  the  middle 
of  the  room.  If  her  heart  beat  so  loud  that  it 
seemed  that  all  must  hear  it,  If  she  felt  sick  and 
faint  with  suspense,  no  one  knew. 

The  whole  audience  was  eagerly  looking  for  '*  The 
lady  Suffragists."  A  party  of  women  in  a  little 
gallery  above  the  door,  attracted  considerable  atten- 
tion. "  Those  are  the  Suffragists,  look  up  there," 
was  whispered  from  all  quarters.  A  man  who  sat 
next  to  the  unrecognised  Suffragette  fixed  his  gaze 
upon  these  ladies,  and  turning  to  his  companion 
said:  ''  That  is  Miss  Pankhurst;  she  has  aged  very 
much  since  I  saw  her  last.  The  ladies  have  got  their 
eyes  on  us;  they  will  begin  putting  their  question 
soon."  The  hall  filled  up  rapidly  and  at  last  became 
so  densely  crowded  that,  owing  to  the  press  of 
people,  the  emergency  doors  at  the  back  of  the  hall 
were  burst  open  and  a  large  crowd  collected  outside. 
Mr.  Churchill  was  late,  and  during  the  Chairman's 
remarks  and  the  speeches  that  followed  little  atten- 
tion was  paid  to  what  was  being  said  for  everyone 
was  waiting  for  what  was  to  happen  next. 

At  last  Mr.  Winston  Churchill  came  In.  He 
spoke  of  the  unsatisfactory  behaviour  of  the  late 
Government.  The  will  of  the  people,  he  declared, 
had  been  Ignored,  "  But  now,"  he  said,  "  you  have 
got  your  chancel  "  "  Yes,  we  have  got  our  chance, 
and  we  mean  to  use  it.  Will  the  Liberal  Govern- 
ment give  women  the  vote?"  The  reply  came 
prompt  and  sharp  as  a  pistol  shot.  It  was  a 
woman's  voice,  and  there  was  a  woman  standing  up 
with  a  little  white  banner  In  her  hand.     There  was 

THE  GENERAL  ELECTION  OF  1906     45 

a  moment's  breathless  waiting  for  Mr.  Churchill's 
answer  which  did  not  come,  and  then  the  usual 
uproar  burst  forth.  The  man  who  "  knew  "  Miss 
Pankhurst  was  the  first  to  snatch  the  banner  from 
the  Suffragette,  but  it  was  evident  that  sitting  around 
her  were  many  unknown  friends. 

For  some  time  it  was  impossible  to  proceed  with  the 
meeting.  Whilst  the  noise  was  at  its  height  the 
interrupter  sat  down  and  waited;  then,  as  soon  as 
quiet  was  restored  and  Mr.  Churchill  attempted  to 
continue  his  speech  without  replying,  she  again  got 
up  and  pressed  for  an  answer  to  her  question.  The 
Chairman  endeavoured  to  induce  Mr.  Churchill  to 
give  an  answer,  but  without  success.  The  stewards 
threatened  to  throw  the  woman  out  but  were  afraid 
to  do  so  because  many  of  the  men  showed  that  they 
were  prepared  to  fight  for  her,  and  in  any  case,  the 
meeting  was  so  crowded  that  it  would  have  been 
difficult  to  get  her  through  the  press  of  people.  The 
woman  asking  for  votes  seemed  likely  to  have  the 
best  of  it  for  once.  Someone  suggested  that  if 
Mr.  Churchill  would  only  answer,  or  if  the  men  in 
the  audience  would  not  get  so  very  much  excited, 
things  might  go  better,  but  the  advice  was  unheeded. 

At  last  the  Chairman  announced  that,  if  the  lady 
would  promise  to  be  quiet  afterwards,  she  should 
speak  from  the  platform  for  five  minutes.  To  this 
she  was  not  disposed  to  agree,  but  went  up  to  the 
foot  of  the  platform  to  explain  that  all  she  wanted 
was  an  answer  to  her  question.  Speaking  directly 
to  Mr.  Churchill  she  said,  "  Don't  you  understand 
what  it  is  I  want?"  But  hiding  his  face  with  a 
quick  impatient  movement  of  his  arm  he  answered 
crossly,  **  Get  away,  I  won't  have  anything  to  do  with 


you."  Then  the  Chairman  appealed  to  her:  "You 
had  better  come  up  to  the  platform,"  he  said,  '*  we 
can  hear  you  then;  as  it  is,  half  the  people  in  the 
meeting  do  not  know  what  all  the  fuss  is  about." 
She  consented,  and  for  th  ;  next  five  minutes  tried  to 
make  her  explanation,  but  the  enthusiastic  Liberals 
of  the  three  front  rows  set  up  the  wildest  tumult 
of  shouts  and  yells  in  order  to  drown  her  words. 

When  the  five  minutes  were  over  the  woman 
turned  to  go,  but  Mr.  Churchill  seized  her  roughly 
by  the  arm  and  forced  her  to  sit  down  in  a  chair 
at  the  back  of  the  platform  saying,  "  No,  you  must 
wait  here,  till  you  have  heard  what  I  have  to  say," 
then  turning  to  the  audience  he  began  complaining  of 
the  way  in  which  the  women  were  treating  him  and 
concluded,  "  nothing  would  induce  me  to  vote  for 
giving  women  the  franchise,"  and,  "  I  am  not  going 
to  be  henpecked  into  a  question  of  such  grave  im- 
portance." As  he  finished  this  declaration  of  hos- 
tility the  men  on  the  platform  rose,  as  if  by  pre- 
arranged agreement,  and  the  woman  questioner  stood 
up  also,  wishing  to  leave.  Instantly  two  men  hur- 
ried her  to  the  side  of  the  platform  where,  screened 
from  the  audience  by  a  group  of  others,  they  swung 
her  roughly  over  the  edge  and  dragged  her  into  an 

Thinking  that  she  was  merely  to  be  put  outside 
she  had  made  no  resistance,  but  now  one  of  the 
men  went  to  find  the  key  to  lock  her  in  whilst  the 
other  remained  in  the  room,  standing  with  his 
back  to  the  door.  As  soon  as  they  were  alone  he 
began  to  use  the  most  violent  language  and,  call- 
ing her  a  cat,  gesticulated  as  though  he  would  scratch 
her  face  with  his  hands.     Knowing  that  the  room 

"•Kk  J 

THE  GENERAL  ELECTION  OF  1906     47 

was  on  the  ground  floor,  she  ran  to  the  window,  and 
threw  It  open,  only  to  find  that  it  was  barred.  She 
called  to  some  people  who  were  passing  in  the  side 
street  saying :  "  I  \^ant  you  to  be  witnesses  of  any- 
thing that  takes  place  in  th,s  room,"  and  they  came 
running  up  and  shouted  to  the  man  to  behave  himself. 
He  at  once  became  quieter,  and  presently  on  a  key 
being  brought  to  him,  he  locked  the  door  and  went 
away.  Now,  some  of  those  in  the  street  discovered 
that  one  of  the  windows  had  no  bars,  and  they  called 
to  the  prisoner  to  go  and  open  it  in  order  that  they 
might  help  her  to  escape.  This  was  easily  done  and 
an  indignation  meeting  was  immediately  held  on  a 
piece  of  waste  ground  near  by.  Meanwhile  Mr. 
Churchill  was  going  on  to  his  other  meetings,  but 
he  found  a  woman  readily  to  question  him  at  every 

Next  day  there  were  long  columns  in  the  Man- 
chester papers  dealing  with  these  incidents  whilst 
Mr.  Churchill's  angry  assertion  that  he  would  not 
be  "  henpecked  "  drew  forth  innumerable  jokes  from 
the  humorous  writers.  A  verse  from  one  of  these, 
entitled  "  The  Heckler,  and  the  Hen-pecker,  with 
apologies  to  Lewis  Carroll  "  ran  as  follows :  -^ 

"  *  The  price  of  bread  '  the  Heckler  said,  '  is  what  we  have 

to  note. 
Answer  at  once,  who  caused  the  war,  and  who  made  Joseph's 

coat  ? ' 
But  here  the  Hen-pecker,  shrieked  out,  *  Will  women  have 

the  vote  ?  * 
*  I  weep  for  you '  the  Heckler  said,  *  I  deeply  sympathise, 
We  have  asked  a  hundred  questions  and  yet  had  no  replies.' 
But  here  the  Hen-pecker  spread  out  a  flag  of  largest  size." 


Day  by  day  the  warfare  with  Mr.  Churchill  con- 
tinued, a  large  proportion  of  the  inhabitants  of  the 
district  gradually  becoming  more  and  more  com- 
pletely converted  to  the  women's  point  of  view.  In 
some  cases  after  violent  scenes  of  disorder,  the 
entire  audience  got  up  and  left  the  meeting  to  show 
their  sympathy  with  them. 

In  our  Manchester  election  campaign  we  did  not 
confine  ourselves,  however,  merely  to  questioning  and 
Heckling  Mr.  Churchill.  We  also  held  numberless 
meetings  of  our  own  and  distributed  thousands  of 

One  day  my  brother  Harry,  who  was  then  fifteen 
years  of  age,  suggested  to  us  a  scheme  which, 
though  it  involved  some  risk  of  prosecution,  we 
found  irresistible.  Accordingly,  in  the  small  hours 
of  the  last  two  mornings  before  polling,  he 
and  two  of  his  school  fellows  set  off  with  brush  and 
paste  can  and  some  long  narrow  slips  called  "  fly^ 
posters,"  with  **  Votes  for  Women "  printed  in 
black  letters  upon  them.  Whilst  the  other  two  boys 
kept  a  lookout  for  passing  policemen,  Harry 
pasted  these  slips  cornerwise  across  Mr.  Churchill's 
great  red  and  white  posters  which  appeared  on 
every  hoarding  in  the  constituency,  just  as  the 
ordinary  advertiser  does  when  he  wishes  to  bring 
out  special  points  of  attraction  to  heighten  the  pub- 
lic interest. 

Though  Mr.  Churchill  won  the  Election,  his  ma- 
jority was  smaller  than  that  of  any  of  the  other  Man- 
chester Liberal  candidates. 

One  of  the  most  active  workers  in  the  new  mili- 
tant campaign  was  Mrs.  Flora  Drummond,  a  cheery, 
rosy-faced  little  woman,  a  native  of  the  Island  of 

THE  GENERAL  ELECTION  OF  igo6     49 

Arran,  As  a  girl  Flora  Gibson  had  been  daring 
and  high-spirited,  a  good  swimmer,  a  splendid 
walker,  and  the  leader  in  all  kinds  of  out-door  sports 
and  games.  On  leaving  school  she  successfully 
passed  all  examinations  for  the  position  of  post  mis- 
tress, but  immediately  afterwards  the  Post  Master 
General  raised  the  height  standard  for  all  post 
masters  and  mistresses  to  five  feet,  two  inches,  the 
same  standard  being  exacted  both  for  men  and 
women  although  the  average  height  of  men  is  of 
course  greater  than  that  of  women.  Flora  Gibson 
was  only  five  feet  one  inch  in  height,  and  as  it  had 
been  only  at  considerable  sacrifice  that  her  widowed 
mother  had  been  able  to  pay  for  her  education, 
poor  Flora  was  in  despair;  but  her  father's  rela- 
tions agreed  to  pay  the  necessary  fees  for  her  to 
learn  shorthand  and  typewriting.  She  soon  became 
exceedingly  skilled  and  took  a  Society  of  Arts  cer- 
tificate. Shortly  after  this  she  married  Mr.  Drum- 
mond,  a  journeyman  upholsterer,  and  removed  to 
Manchester,  his  native  place.  Soon  after  her  mar- 
riage she  was  obliged  to  resume  her  typewriting  be- 
cause bad  trade  threw  Mr.  Drummond  out  of  regu- 
lar employment.  Eventually  she  became  manager, 
of  the  Oliver  Typewriter  Company's  office  in  Man- 
chester. She  had  joined  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  on  hear- 
ing of  the  imprisonment  of  Annie  Kenney  and 
Christabel  Pankhurst. 

Mrs.  Drummond  was  invaluable  for  the  work  of 
questioning  Cabinet  Ministers  which  was  carried  on 
continuously  in  spite  of  our  Manchester  election  cam- 
paign. When,  early  in  January,  1906,  we  heard 
that  the  Prime  Minister  was  to  speak  at  the  Sun 
Hall,  Liverpool,  she  and  several  other  members  of 


the  Union  agreed  to  go  over  and  question  him.  Mr. 
Balfour,  who  was  then  fighting  a  losing  battle  in  the 
effort  to  retain  his  old  seat  in  East  Manchester,  had 
agreed  to  receive  a  deputation  from  our  Union, 
Nothing  very  important  came  of  the  interview, 
though  Mr.  Balfour's  reply  was  kindly  and  sympa- 
thetic, but  long  before  Mr.  Balfour's  hotel  had  been 
reached  the  deputation  had  discovered  that  they  were 
being  shadowed  by  detectives.  As  it  had  been  ar- 
ranged that  some  of  the  women  should  go  straight 
on  to  Liverpool,  they  made  every  attempt  to  shake 
off  their  pursuers.  Proceeding  first  in  one  direction 
and  then  in  another,  they  were  tracked  all  over 
Manchester  and  Liverpool  until  finally  Christ abel 
said  good-bye  to  her  companions  and  returned  to 
Manchester.  Then,  instead  of  breaking  up  into 
two  parties  the  detectives  all  followed  her,  whilst 
the  other  women,  in  company  with  a  number  of 
Liverpool  members  of  our  Union,  quietly  made  their 
way  to  the  Sun  Hall,  where  nine  of  them  subse- 
quently questioned  the  Prime  Minister  and  were  all 
thrown  out  of  the  hall  without  receiving  a  reply. 
After  the  first  woman  had  been  rejected  Sir  Camp- 
bell-Bannerman  said :  "  If  I  might  have  done  so,  I 
could  have  calmed  that  lady's  nerves  by  telling  her 
that  I  am  in  favour  of  Women's  Suffrage,"  but  this, 
of  course,  was  no  answer  to  the  question  as  to 
whether  the  Government  was  prepared  to  enfran- 
chise the  women  of  the  country. 

On  January  15th  Mrs.  Drummond  and  a  number 
of  her  friends  in  Glasgow  attended  a  meeting  of 
the  Prime  Minister's  in  the  St.  Andrew's  Hall 
there.  Heckling  is  a  regular  institution  in  Scot- 
land, and  the  Glasgow  women  declared  that  they 

THE  GENERAL  ELECTION  OF  igo6     51 

would  certainly  receive  courteous  replies.  On  ask- 
ing the  usual  question  Mrs.  Drummond  was  at  once 
flung  out  by  the  stewards  and  immediately  after- 
wards one  of  her  companions  who  had  hitherto  been 
a  staunch  Liberal  approached  her  with  hat  awry 
and  dishevelled  clothing  saying  in  bewilderment, 
"  Oh  my,  they  pet  me  ooti  "    - 

During  these  weeks  questions  were  also  put  at 
several  other  meetings  including  that  of  Mr.  Asquith 
in  the  Sheffield  Drill  Hall.  Everywhere  the  women 
were  ejected.  On  January  25th  one  of  the  last  big 
Liberal  meetings  of  the  General  Election  was  held 
at  Altrincham  in  Cheshire,  Mr.  Lloyd  George  being 
the  principal  speaker.  The  members  of  the  W.  S. 
P.  U.  who  were  present  did  not  interrupt  him  during 
his  speech  but  waited  until  he  had  finished  before 
asking  him  the  usual  question.  Mr.  Lloyd  George 
then  said :  "  I  was  going  to  congratulate  myself  that 
I  had  escaped  this;  however,  at  the  last  meeting  of 
the  campaign  the  spectre  has  appeared."  That  was 
all,  and  the  women  were  quickly  hauled  out  to  pre- 
vent their  again  raising  their  voices. 

So  the  General  Election  ended,  and  we  were  still 
left  without  that  pledge  from  the  Liberal  leaders 
which  we  had  set  ourselves  to  gain.  Those  of  us 
who  went  through  the  campaign  will  be  ever  at  a 
loss  to  understand  the  motives  which  led  the  Liberal 
leaders  to  treat  our  first  orderly  and  considerate 
questioning  and  even  the  later,  more  persistent 
heckling,  as  they  did.  They  obviously  had  neither 
the  wish  nor  the  intention  of  giving  votes  to  women 
during  their  term  of  office,  and  it  was  probably  the 
fear  of  offending  the  ladies  who  canvassed  for 
them  that  prevented  their  plainly  saying  so.     Yet 


after  all,  they  were  accustomed  to  parrying  the  ques- 
tioning of  men  and  it  was  surely  unwise,  even  from 
their  own  standpoint,  to  deal  so  violently  with 

All  that  had  been  done  by  the  new  militant  suf- 
fragists up  to  now  had  been  merely  the  brilliant 
skirmishing  of  an  intrepid  and  resourceful  little  band 
of  enthusiasts  driven  to  employ  somewhat  uncon- 
ventional methods,  both  by  the  old  established  cus- 
tom of  boycotting  their  cause  and  by  the  ruthless 
brutality  of  the  forces  that  were  arrayed  against 
them.  Our  opponents  called  us  "  a  stage  army " 
and  '*  a  family  party,"  and  the  designations  were  not 
inapt,  but  the  little  stage  army  was  always  cleverly 
marshalled,  and  its  soldiers  were  as  cheerfully  and 
affectionately  loyal  to  the  mother  of  the  movement 
and  to  the  young  general  who  had  initiated  the 
new  tactics  as  though  in  reality  they  had  all  been 
members  of  a  single  family. 

During  the  General  Election  various  attempts  to 
press  forward  the  question  of  Women's  Suffrage  had 
also  been  made  by  the  non-militant  Suffragists. 
Miss  Llewellyn  Davies  and  others  had  organised  a 
joint  Manifesto  on  this  question  from  a  large  num- 
ber of  societies.  These  included,  amongst  others, 
the  Women's  Co-operative  Guild  with  20,700  mem- 
bers, the  Women's  Liberal  Federation  with  76,000 
members  and  the  Scottish  Women's  Liberal  Federa- 
tion with  15,000  members.  The  North  of  England 
Weavers'  Association,  with  100,000.  The  British 
Women's  Temperance  Association  with  109,890 
members,  the  Independent  Labour  Party  with  20,000 
members,  and  the  Lancashire  and  Cheshire  Textile 
and    others    Workers'    Representation    Committee, 

THE  GENERAL  ELECTION  OF  1906     53 

whose  Secretaries  were  Miss  Eva  Core-Booth  and 
Mrs.  Sarah  Dickinson.  The  Women  Textile  Work- 
ers' Committee  had  also  run  Mr.  Thorley  Smith 
as  a  Women's  Suffrage  candidate  for  Wigan. 
Though  Mr.  Smith  had  not  been  elected,  a  good  fight 
had  been  made  and  a  very  creditable  vote  secured; 
the  figures  had  been :  — 

Powel  (Conservative) 3,573 

Smith  (Women's  Suff.) 2,205 

Woods  (Liberal) 1,900 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  1906 

Annie  Kenney  Sets  off  to  Rouse  London  —  The 
Scene  in  the  Ladies  Gallery  and  the  Deputation 
TO  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman. 

As  soon  as  the  General  Election  was  over,  we 
began  to  make  preparations  for  the  opening  of  Par- 
liament. It  was  decided  that  the  work  of  our  Union 
must  be  carried  to  London,  and  that  we  must  have 
an  Organiser  there  who  would  be  able  to  devote 
the  whole  of  her  time  to  it.  Annie  Kenney,  who, 
after  her  imprisonment,  had  never  gone  back  to  the 
Mill,  was  chosen  for  this  post.  The  Election  cam- 
paign had  put  a  severe  strain  upon  the  resources  of 
the  Union,  and  from  the  first  the  raising  of  funds 
had  been  our  greatest  difficulty.  Therefore,  it  was 
with  only  £2  in  her  pocket  and  the  uncertainty  as  to 
whether  more  would  be  forthcoming  that  Annie 
Kenney  set  off  **  to  rouse  London."  Perhaps  no  one 
realised  what  a  heavy  task,  and  how  many  bitter 
rebuffs  were  before  this  sensitive,  fragile  girl.  I 
took  a  room  for  her  in  the  house  where  I  was  stay- 
ing at  45,  Park  Walk,  Chelsea,  in  order  that  we 
might  consult,  and  as  far  as  possible,  work  together. 

The  Committee  in  Manchester  had  not  formulated 
any  definite  plans  of  campaign,  but  we  came  to  the 


JANUARY  TO  MAY,  1906  55 

conclusion  that  we  must  organise  a  procession  of 
women  and  a  demonstration  in  Trafalgar  Square 
for  the  day  of  the  opening  of  Parliament.  When 
Annie  went  to  Scotland  Yard  to  inform  the  police 
of  our  intentions,  however,  she  was  told  that  no 
meeting  in  Trafalgar  Square  could  be  allowed  whilst 
Parliament  was  sitting.  This  forced  us  to  the  con- 
clusion that  we  must  hire  a  Hall  somewhere  near 
Westminster  for  our  meeting  place,  but  we  knew  not 
where  to  find  the  money  to  pay  for  it.  This  and 
other  difficulties,  however,  were  one  by  one  smoothed 
away.  Mr.  Keir  Hardie  and  Mr.  Frank  Smith 
(afterwards  elected  to  the  London  County  Council  as 
member  for  Lambeth)  were  the  first  to  help  us, 
and  they  advised  us  to  take  the  Caxton  Hall,  West- 
minster, and  put  us  in  touch  with  a  sympathiser  who 
agreed  to  pay  the  rent  of  it. 

As  soon  as  we  had  taken  the  Hall,  we  drafted  a 
little  handbill  to  announce  the  Meeting,  and  then, 
armed  with  her  bills  and  her  wonderful  faith  in  the 
goodness  of  her  fellow  men  and  women,  Annie 
Kenney  proceeded  with  her  mission,  calling  day  by  day 
upon  people  of  whom  she  knew  practically  nothing, 
and  to  whom  she  herself  was  entirely  unknown. 
One  of  those  who  kindly  helped  us  was  Mr.  W.  T. 
Stead,  who  published  in  the  Review  of  Reviews  a 
character  sketch  of  Annie  Kenney,  in  which  he 
likened  her  to  Josephine  Butler.  It  was  soon  plain 
to  us  that  it  would  be  easier  to  ask  for  help  if  we 
formed  a  London  Branch  of  the  W.  S.  P.  U.,  and 
with  my  aunt,  Mrs.  Clarke,  and  Mrs.  Lucy  Roe, 
our  landlady,  we  therefore  formed  a  Preliminary 


In  about  a  fortnight's  time  my  mother  joined  us. 
She  was  surprised  to  learn  that  so  many  arrange- 
ments had  been  made  and  at  first  was  almost  in- 
clined to  be  appalled  at  the  boldness  of  our  plans. 
She  was  afraid  that  we  should  never  induce  more 
than  a  handful  of  women  to  walk  in  procession 
through  the  public  streets,  and  that  the  Caxton  Hall 
could  not  be  filled.  But  the  die  was  cast,  and  she 
threw  herself  into  the  work  determined  to  do  her 
very  best  to  prevent  failure. 

A  few  days  after  this  we  heard  that  Mrs.  Drum- 
mond  was  coming  from  Manchester  to  help  us. 
Her  husband  was  earning  little  at  the  time,  and  the 
Union  had  no  money  to  provide  her  railway  fare, 
but  she  had  walked  miles  through  the  snow  in  order 
to  collect  the  necessary  funds  from  her  friends. 
When  she  arrived,  we  were  all  of  us  growing  very 
weary  and  overwrought.  It  seemed  almost  im- 
possible to  stir  this  great  city,  filled  with  its  busy 
millions  who  appeared  to  have  no  time  to  think  of 
anything  but  their  own  affairs.  The  thoughtless 
apathy  of  those  whom  we  met  with  money  and 
leisure  at  their  disposal,  the  dull,  hopeless  inertia  of 
those  who  agreed  that  we  were  right,  but  would  not 
stir  themselves  to  help,  were  to  us  in  our  anxiety, 
almost  maddening.  But  Mrs.  Drummond,  with  her 
practical  ways  and  her  inexhaustible  fund  of  good 
humour,  brought  with  her  a  spirit  of  renewed  hope 
and  energy.  Her  first  act  was  to  go  to  the  office 
of  the  Oliver  Company  and  borrow  a  typewriter 
from  them.  The  secretarial  duties  were  thus  enor- 
mously lightened,  and  after  rattling  off  the  corre- 
spondence she  was  always  ready  to  join  us  in  deliv- 
ering handbills,  canvassing  from  house  to  house,  or 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  57 

writing  announcements  of  the  forthcoming  meetings 
with  white  chalk  upon  the  city  pavement. 

At  last  the  day  of  the  opening  of  Parliament, 
February  19th,  1906,  arrived,  and  a  crowd  of  ^ome 
three  or  four  hundred  women,  a  large  proportion  of 
whom  were  poor  workers  from  the  East  End,  met 
us  at  St.  James'  Park  District  Railway  Station.  We 
formed  in  procession  and  put  up  a  few  simple  ban- 
ners, some  of  which  were  red  with  white  letters,  and 
had  been  made  by  working  people  in  Canning 
Town,  whilst  the  rest  I  had  made  of  white  linen 
and  lettered  with  India  ink  in  the  little  sitting-room 
at  Park  Walk.  Our  procession  had  gone  but  a  few 
yards  when  the  police  came  up  and  insisted  upon 
the  furling  of  the  banners,  but  they  did  not  prevent 
our  marching  to  the  Caxton  Hall  near  by.  Here 
we  found  that  a  large  audience  had  already  assem- 
bled, and  soon  the  hall  was  crowded  with  women, 
most  of  whom  were  strangers  to  us.  We  were  told 
afterwards  that  amongst  the  rest  were  many  ladies 
of  wealth  and  position,  who,  inspired  with  curiosity 
by  the  newspaper  accounts  of  the  disturbances  which 
we  were  said  to  have  created,  had  disguised  them- 
selves in  their  maids'  clothes  in  order  that  they 
might  attend  the  meeting  unrecognised. 

Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Annie  Kenney  and  others  who 
spoke,  were  listened  to  with  much  earnestness  and 
presently  the  news  came  that  the  King's  speech,  the 
Government's  legislative  programme  for  the  session, 
had  been  read,  and  that  it  had  contained  no  refer- 
ence to  the  question  of  Women's  Suffrage.  My 
mother  at  once  moved  that  the  meeting  should  form 
itself  into  a  "  Lobbying  "  Committee  and  should  at 
once  proceed  to  the  House  of  Commons  in  order 


to  induce  its  members  to  ballot  for  a  Women's  Suf- 
frage Bill.  This  resolution  was  carried  with  accla- 
mation, and  the  whole  meeting  streamed  out  into 
the  street  and  made  its  way  to  the  House.  It  was 
bitterly  cold  and  pouring  with  rain,  but  when  we 
arrived  at  the  Strangers'  Entrance,  we  found  that 
for  the  first  time  that  anyone  could  remember,  the 
door  of  the  House  of  Commons  was  closed  to 
women.  Cards  were  sent  in  to  several  Private 
Members,  some  of  whom  came  out  and  urged  that 
we  should  be  allowed  to  enter,  but  the  Government 
had  given  its  orders,  and  the  police  remained  ob- 
durate. All  the  women  refused  to  go  away,  and 
permission  was  finally  given  for  twenty  women  at 
a  time  to  be  admitted.  Then  hour  after  hour  the 
women  stood  outside  in  the  rain  waiting  for  their 
turn  to  enter.  Some  of  them  never  got  into  the 
House  at  all,  and  those  who  did  so  went  away 
gloomy  and  disappointed  for  there  was  not  one  of 
them  who  had  received  any  assurance  that  Parlia- 
ment intended  to  give  women  the  vote. 

Now,  after  a  chance  meeting  with  Mrs.  Pankhurst 
and  a  second  long  talk  with  her  and  with  Annie 
Kenney,  a  new  recruit  had  entered  our  movement. 
This  was  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence,  the  daughter  of 
Mr.  Henry  Pethick,  of  Wesern  Super-Mare,  and  a 
member  of  a  Cornish  family.  As  a  child  at  school 
she  had  read  the  story  of  Hetty  Sorrell  in  George 
Eliot's  "Adam  Bede,"  had  seen  "Faust,"  and 
Marguerite  in  her  prison  cell.  Later  she  had  learnt 
from  Sir  Walter  Besant's  Children  of  Gideon  of 
the  cheerless  struggle  to  eke  out  an  existence  upon 
starvation  wages,  which  falls  to  the  lot  of  working- 
girls.     Then  and  there  she  had  resolved  to  spend 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  S9 

her  life  in  striving  to  alter  these  conditions.  She 
determined  that  as  soon  as  she  left  school  she  would 
go  to  **  the  East  End,"  and  begin.  When  the  time 
came  she  at  once  acted  upon  this  decision.  With- 
out seeking  help  or  advice  from  anyone,  she  wrote 
to  Mrs.  Hugh  Price  Hughes,  of  the  West  London 
Mission  and  asked  that  she  might  be  received  into 
her  sisterhood.  When  her  request  had  been  granted 
she  told  her  parents  of  what  she  had  done,  and  they 
readily  gave  their  full  approval  and  sympathy. 

After  four  years  of  useful  training  and  varied 
experiences  in  the  West  London  Mission,  during 
which  she  had  had  at  some  times  the  charge  of  a 
Working-Girls'  Club  and  at  others  had  been  sent 
out  at  night  on  to  the  London  Streets  in  order  to 
save  and  succour  the  homeless  and  outcast  women 
there,  she  and  her  friend,  Miss  Mary  Neal,  took 
rooms  in  a  block  of  artisans'  dwellings  and  gathered 
round  them  a  small  colony  of  social  workers.  To- 
gether they  founded  the  Esperance  Working-Girls' 
Club,  to  which  was  attached  a  co-operative  dress- 
making establishment,  and  a  holiday  hotel  at  Little- 
hampton  called  "  The  Green  Lady."  Later  on, 
after  her  marriage  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  built  a 
small  cottage  near  her  house  at  Holmwood  called 
"  The  Sundial,"  where  the  junior  members  of  the 
Esperance  Club  were  invited  during  the  summer. 

Writing  of  these  early  years,  and  of  her  own 
decision  to  take  part  in  the  Votes  for  Women  Move- 
ment she  says: 

Out  of  that  part  of  my  life  there  stand  out  many  mem- 
ories. ...  I  remember  a  little  girl  belonging  to  the 
Children's  Happy  Evening  Club,  who  went  mad  with  grief 
because  her  widowed  mother  lost  her  work,   and  was  in 


despair.  The  dread  of  being  separated  in  the  workhouse 
was  upon  the  whole  family,  and  the  child  was  taken  to  the 
asylum,  crying,  "  Poor,  poor  mother."  I  remember  a  girl 
about  twenty,  alone  in  the  world,  earning  a  pittance  as 
a  waitress  in  a  tea-shop.  She  was  a  quiet,  gentle  creature, 
who  made  no  complaint.  All  the  greater  was  the  shock 
when  the  girl  put  an  end  to  her  life,  leaving  a  little  note, 
with  the  words,  "  I  am  tired  out.*'  These  two  cries  stiil 
ring  out  at  times  in  my  memory  with  their  terrible  indict- 
ment against  life  as  men  have  made  it.  .  .  .  We  recog- 
nised the  fact  that  we  were  only  making  in  a  great  wilderness 
a  tiny  garden,  enclosed  by  the  wall  of  human  fellowship.  As 
we  saw  more  and  more  of  the  evil  plight  of  women,  we  real- 
ised ever  more  clearly  that  nothing  could  really  lift  them  out 
of  it  until  the  power  had  been  put  into  their  hands  to  help 
themselves.  .  .  .  Suddenly  a  light  flashed  out.  News 
came  of  the  arrest  and  imprisonment  of  Christabel  Fank- 
hurst  and  Annie  Kenney.     Here  at  last  was  action. 

So  it  was  that  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  had  prepared 
herself  to  take  part  in  the  great  Votes  for  Women 

We  had  now  decided  to  organise  our  London 
Committee  on  a  more  formal  basis.  Mrs.  Lawrence 
was  asked  to  become  one  of  Its  members  and  I  well 
remember  her  coming  to  my  little  room  in  Park 
Walk  to  take  part  In  the  formation  of  the  new  Cen- 
tral Committee.  It  was  the  first  time  I  had  seen  her, 
and  I  can  never  forget  how  much  I  was  attracted  by 
her  dark  expressive  eyes,  and  the  quiet  business-like 
way  In  which  she  listened  to  what  was  being  said, 
only  Interposing  In  the  debate  when  she  had  some- 
thing really  valuable  to  suggest.  It  was  later  that 
I  noticed  the  untrammelled  carriage  and  the  fine  free 
lift  of  the  head.     < 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  1906  61 

That  first  meeting  was  towards  the  end  of  Feb- 
ruary and  it  was  arranged  that  Mrs.  Lawrence,  her 
friend,  Miss  Mary  Neal,  myself,  Annie  Kenney,  my 
aunt,  Mrs.  Clarke,  Mrs.  Roe,  Miss  Irene  Fenwick 
Miller,  daughter  of  a  well-known  early  suffragist, 
and  Mrs.  Martel,  of  Australia,  should  form  the 
London  Committee  with  my  mother  and  Mrs.  Drum- 
mond,  who  were  returning  to  Manchester.  It  was 
decided  that  I  was  to  become  the  Honorary  Secre- 
tary, and  Mrs.  Lawrence  was  asked  to  be  Honorary 

We  now  felt  that  our  next  move  must  be  to  secure 
an  interview  with  the  Prime  Minister,  and  we  there- 
fore wrote  to  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman  ask- 
ing him  to  receive  a  deputation  from  our  Union. 
He  replied  that  he  could  not  spare  the  time  to  see 
us.  Our  answer  was  that,  owing  to  the  urgency  of 
the  question,  we  could  take  no  refusal,  and  that  a 
number  of  our  members  would  call  upon  him  at  the 
Official  Residence,  No.  10  Downing  Street,  on  the 
morning  of  March  2nd,  1906. 

Downing  Street  is  a  short  road  opening  out  of 
Parliament  Street  and  ending  in  a  flight  of  steps 
leading  into  St.  James'  Park.  There  are  now  only 
three  houses  left  in  the  Street,  the  others  having 
been  pulled  down  to  make  way  for  Government 
Buildings.  The  Official  Residence  itself  was  not 
built  for  its  present  purpose  and  consists  of  two 
comfortable-looking  Georgian  houses  knocked  into 
one,  each  of  which  is  three  stories  high  with  attics 
above,  and  has  three  windows  along  the  front  of  the 
first  and  second  floors  and  two  windows  and  a  door 
below.  The  door  is  dark  green,  almost  black, 
and  has  a  black  iron  knocker,  a  lion's  head  with 


a  ring  in  its  mouth.  Above  this  knocker  Is  a  small, 
circular,  brass  knob  about  half  an  inch  in  diameter 
and  very  highly  polished  and  under  the  knocker  is 
a  brass  plate,  equally  well  polished,  inscribed  "  First 
Lord  of  the  Treasury."  There  is  one  shallow,  well 
whitened  doorstep  and  on  each  side  of  it  are  black 
iron  railings  that  protect  the  house  from  the  street. 
The  next  house.  No.  ii,  is  a  slightly  more  ornate 
building  in  the  same  style,  which  was  then  occupied 
by  Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone. 

On  presenting  themselves  at  the  door  of  the 
Official  Residence,  the  deputation  from  the  Women's 
Social  and  Political  Union  were  told  that  Sir  Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman  could  receive  no  one,  as  he 
had  been  ill  and  was  still  confined  to  his  room.  A 
request  to  see  the  Prime  Minister's  secretary  was 
also  refused,  and  the  door  was  shut.  Then,  deciding 
to  wait  there  until  they  were  attended  to,  the  depu- 
tation sat  down  to  rest  on  the  doorstep  and  dis- 
played a  little  white  **  Votes  for  Women  "  banner. 

We  had  notified  the  various  newspapers  *  that  we 
intended  to  call  on  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Banner- 
man and  by  this  time  a  number  of  Press  photog- 
raphers had  collected.  This  greatly  embarrassed 
the  inhabitants  of  No.  lo,  and  presently  the  hall  por- 
ter opened  the  door  again,  and  looking  very  uncom- 
fortable,  begged  the  women  to   go   away.     Annie 

1  From  the  first,  the  London  papers  and  especially  the  newly 
inaugurated  Daily  Mirror,  had  been  somewhat  interested  in  our 
unusual  methods  of  propaganda.  It  was  just  at  this  time  that 
the  Daily  Mail  began  to  call  us  "  Suffragettes  "  in  order  to  dis- 
tinguish between  us  and  the  members  of  the  older  Suffrage 
Society  who  had  always  been  called  "  Suffragists,"  and  who 
strongly  objected  to  our  tactics, 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  63 

Kenney  assured  him  that  she  and  her  companions 
would  remain  all  day  if  need  be,  and  after  arguing 
for  some  time,  scratching  his  head  and  looking  very 
much  puzzled,  he  finally  asked  two  members  of  the 
deputation  to  go  inside,  where  they  were  received  by 
Mr.  Ponsonby,  the  secretary,  who  promised  to  give 
their  message  to  his  chief. 

The  same  evening  we  held  another  Committee 
meeting  and  drafted  a  further  letter  to  the  Prime 
Minister  asking  for  an  early  opportunity  of  laying 
our  case  before  him.  In  response  to  this  letter,  he 
returned  an  evasive  reply  in  which  he  stated  that 
any  representations  that  the  Union  wished  to  make 
to  him  must  be  put  in  writing. 

We  therefore  decided  that  another  attempt  must 
be  made  to  interview  him  and  after  waiting  until 
he  had  made  a  complete  recovery  and  was  again 
able  to  take  his  part  in  the  House  of  Commons 
debates,  a  larger  deputation,  consisting  of  several 
members  of  our  Committee  and  some  thirty  other 
women,  made  their  way  to  Downing  Street  about 
10  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  March  9th.  They 
again  asked  to  see  the  Prime  Minister  and  the  door- 
keeper promised  to  give  their  message  to  the  sec- 
retary. After  they  had  been  waiting  for  three- 
quarters  of  an  hour  two  men  came  out  and  said  to 
them,  "You  had  better  be  off;  you  must  not  stand 
on  this  doorstep  any  longer."  The  women  ex- 
plained that  they  were  waiting  for  a  reply  but  were 
abruptly  told  that  there  was  no  answer  and  the  door 
was  rudely  shut  in  their  faces. 

Angered  by  this  Miss  Irene  Miller  immediately 
seized  the  knocker  and  rapped  sharply  at  the  door. 
Then  the  two  men  appeared  again  and  one  of  them 


called  to  a  policeman  on  the  other  side  of  the  road, 
"  Take  this  woman  in  charge."  The  order  was  at 
once  obeyed,  and  Miss  Miller  was  marched  away  to 
Canon  Row  Police  Station.  Spurred  on  by  this 
event  Mrs.  Drummond,  exclaiming  that  nothing 
should  prevent  her  from  seeing  the  Prime  Minister, 
darted  forward  and  pulled  at  the  little  brass  knob 
in  the  middle  of  the  door.  As  she  did  so,  she  dis- 
covered that  the  little  knob,  instead  of  being  a  bell, 
as  she  had  imagined,  was  something  very  differ- 
ent indeed,  for  suddenly  the  door  opened  wide. 
Without  more  ado  she  rushed  in  and  headed 
straight  for  the  Cabinet  Council  Chamber,  but  before 
she  could  get  there  she  was  caught,  thrown  out  of  the 
house  and  then  taken  in  custody  to  the  police  station. 
Meanwhile  Annie  Kenney  began  to  address  the  gath- 
ering crowd,  but  the  man  who  had  first  called  the 
policeman  again  looked  out  and  said,  "  Why  don't 
you  arrest  that  woman?  She  is  one  of  the  ring- 
leaders. Take  her  in  charge."  Then  she  was 
dragged  away  to  join  her  companions. 

The  three  women  were  detained  at  Canon  Row  for 
about  an  hour.  Then  a  police  inspector  told  them 
that  a  message  to  set  them  at  liberty  had  been  sent 
by  the  Prime  Minister,  who  wished  them  to  be  in- 
formed that  he  would  receive  a  deputation  from  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union,  either  individ- 
ually or  in  conjunction  with  other  women's  societies. 
Of  course  we  published  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Banner- 
man's  promise  broadcast.  Shortly  afterwards,  two 
hundred  Members  of  Parliament,  drawn  from  every 
party,  petitioned  Sir  Henry  to  fix  an  early  date  for 
receiving  some  of  their  number  in  order  that  they 
might  urge  upon  him  the  necessity  for  an  immediate 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  65 

extension  of  the  franchise  to  women.  He  then  form- 
ally announced  that  on  May  19th  he  would  receive  a 
joint  deputation  both  from  Members  of  Parliament 
representing  the  signatories  to  this  petition  and  all 
the  organised  bodies  of  women  in  the  country  who 
were  desirous  of  obtaining  the  Suffrage. 

All  the  women's  societies  now  began  to  make  prep- 
arations for  an  effective  Demonstration  on  May  19th. 
The  National  Union  of  Women's  Suffrage  Societies 
decided  to  hold  a  meeting  in  the  Exeter  Hall,  but 
we  of  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  wished 
to  do  something  very  much  more  ambitious  than  that, 
and  we  resolved  to  organise  a  procession  and  a  demon- 
stration in  Trafalgar  Square.  In  view  of  the  im- 
mense work  that  this  would  entail,  we  felt  the  neces- 
sity of  engaging  another  organiser,  and  my  mother 
now  recommended  that  Miss  Billington  should  be 
asked  to  undertake  the  work. 

Born  in  Blackburn  in  1877,  Theresa  Billington, 
the  daughter  of  a  shipping  clerk,  had  been  educated  at 
a  Roman  Catholic  convent  school.  Owing  to  finan- 
cial difficulties  at  home,  she  had  been  set  to  learn 
millinery  at  thirteen  years  of  age.  At  seventeen  she 
had  made  up  her  mind  to  be  a  teacher,  and  having  ob- 
tained one  of  the  Queen's  Scholarships,  she  eventually 
became  a  teacher  under  the  Manchester  Education 
Committee.  When  she  was  first  introduced  to  us  she 
had  come  into  conflict  with  the  authorities  because  of 
her  refusal  to  give  the  prescribed  religious  Instruc- 
tion to  her  pupils.  My  mother,  who  was  then  a 
member  of  the  Education  Committee,  intervened  to 
secure  that  she  should  be  transferred  to  a  Jewish 
school,  where  she  would  not  be  expected  to  teach 
religion,  and  thus  prevented  her  dismissal.  In  1904, 


at  my  mother's  request,  she  had  been  appointed  as 
an  organiser  for  the  Independent  Labour  Party. 

About  the  middle  of  April,  a  few  weeks  after  the 
Prime  Minister  had  given  his  promise  to  receive  the 
deputation,  a  Parliamentary  vacancy  occurred  in  the 
Eye  division  of  Suffolk,  and  Christabel  wrote  to  our 
London  Committee,  saying  that  she  thought  it  ad- 
visable that  we  should  go  down  to  the  constituency 
and  intimate  to  the  Liberal  candidate  that,  unless  he 
could  obtain  a  pledge  from  his  Government  to  give 
Votes  to  women,  we  should  oppose  his  return,  and 
that  we  should  take  a  similar  course  in  the  case  of 
every  future  Government  nominee.  Mrs.  Pethick 
Lawrence,  Annie  Kenney  and  Theresa  Billing- 
ton  therefore  went  down  to  Eye  and  inter- 
viewed Mr.  Harold  Pearson,  the  Liberal  can- 
didate, but  he  treated  the  question  of  Votes  for 
Women  with  contempt  and  ridiculed  the  idea 
that  women  could  do  anything  tcr  hinder  his 
return.  Owing  to  the  size  of  that  large  county  con- 
stituency and  the  pressure  of  work  in  London  these 
three  members  of  our  Committee  then  decided  to 
return  to  London.  But  at  home  in  Manchester  they 
were  exceedingly  anxious  to  see  the  policy  of  oppo- 
sition to  the  Government  at  by-elections  put  into  prac- 

The  funds  of  the  Manchester  branch  of  the  Union 
were  entirely  depleted,  but  five  pounds  was  got  to- 
gether, an  address  to  the  Electors  of  Eye  from  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  was  printed  and 
Mrs.  Drummond  set  off  to  the  constituency  to  fight 
the  election  single-handed.  Five  pounds  to  fight  an 
election  campaign  with  seems  an  absurdly  small  sum 
when  one  realises  that  the  candidates  spend  many 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  67 

hundreds.  Nevertheless,  though  she  was  entirely 
friendless  and  unknown  in  that  part  of  the  country, 
Mrs.  Drummond  succeeded  in  creating  a  wonderful 
impression.  She  could  not  afford  to  hire  a  carriage, 
it  is  true,  but  there  was  always  a  friendly  farmer  or 
tradesman  who  would  give  the  cheery  little  Scotch- 
woman a  lift  in  his  cart,  and  so  active  was  she  that  in 
a  short  time  the  impression  was  spread  abroad  that 
not  one  solitary  Suffragette  had  gone  to  Eye,  but  that 
several  were  working  from  different  centres.  Before 
the  end  of  the  Election  the  Conservative  candidate 
and  even  scornful  Mr.  Harold  Pearson,  the  Liberal, 
had  declared  in  favour  of  Votes  for  Women. 

Meanwhile  Mr.  Keir  Hardie  had  secured  a  place 
for  a  Women's  Suffrage  Resolution  which  was  to  be 
discussed  in  the  House  of  Commons  on  the  evening 
of  April  25th.  Though  a  resolution  is  only  an  ex- 
pression of  opinion  and  can  have  no  practical  legisla- 
tive effect,  this  was  considered  important  because  it 
was  realised  that  if  the  new  Parliament  were  to  show  a 
substantial  majority  in  its  support,  the  women's  claim 
that  the  Government  should  deal  with  the  question 
would  be  greatly  strengthened.  Unfortunately  only 
a  second  place  had  been  obtained  for  the  Resolution. 
Hence  there  was  every  reason  to  fear  that,  as  so 
often  before,  our  talkative  opponents  would  succeed 
in  preventing  its  being  voted  upon.  The  situation 
became  more  hopeful,  however,  when  the  Anti-Vivi- 
sectionists,  who  had  obtained  the  first  place  for  the 
evening,  entered  into  a  compromise  by  which  they 
agreed  to  withdraw  their  resolution  early.  The  way 
was  thus  left  clear  for  the  Votes  for  Women  Reso- 
lution, but  we  ourselves  still  thought  that  the  "  talkers 
out "  would  probably  have  their  way.     We  were 


determined  not  to  allow  this  to  happen  without  pro- 
test. Therefore,  in  order  to  be  in  readiness  for  any 
emergency,  a  large  number  of  us  had  obtained  tickets, 
for  the  Ladies'  Gallery. 

Looking  down  through  the  brass  grille,  from  be- 
hind which  women  are  alone  permitted  to  listen  to 
the  debates  in  Parliament,  we  saw  that  the  House 
was  crowded  as  is  usual  only  at  important  crises,  and 
that  both  the  Government  and  Opposition  front 
benches  were  fully  occupied.  The  Resolution, 
"  That  in  the  opinion  of  this  House  it  is  desirable 
that  sex  should  cease  to  be  a  bar  to  the  exercise  of 
the  Parliamentary  franchise  "  was  moved  and  sec- 
onded in  short  speeches  in  order  that  the  opponents 
should  have  no  least  excuse  for  urging  that  there  had 
been  no  time  for  their  own  side  to  be  fairly  heard. 
Then  Mr.  Cremer  rose  to  speak  in  opposition.  His 
speech  was  grossly  insulting  to  women  and  altogether 
unworthy  of  a  Member  of  the  People's  House  of 
Representatives.  Both  by  his  words,  his  voice  and 
gestures  he  plainly  showed  his  entire  view  of  women 
to  be  degraded  and  indeed  revolting.  Yet,  though 
one  was  angry  with  him,  he  was  an  object  for  pity 
as  he  stood  there,  undersized  and  poorly  made,  ob- 
viously in  bad  health  and  with  that  narrow,  grovel- 
ling and  unimaginative  point  of  view,  flaunting 
his  masculine  superiority.  The  women  found  it 
very  difficult  to  sit  quietly  listening  to  him,  and, 
though  my  mother  strove  to  check  them,  some  sub- 
dued exclamations  caught  the  Speaker's  ear.  He  im- 
mediately gave  orders  for  the  police  to  be  in  readiness 
to  clear  the  Ladies'  Gallery  if  any  further  sounds 
should  issue  from  it.  But,  once  Mr.  Cremer  had  fin- 
ished speaking,  absolute  quiet  was  restored.     Mr. 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  69 

Willie  Redmond,  brother  of  John  Redmond,  the 
leader  of  the  Irish  Party,  then  indignantly  protested 
against  the  tone  of  Mr.  Cremer's  speech,  crying  fer- 
vently that  he  himself  had  always  believed  in 
Women's  Suffrage  because,  all  his  life,  he  had  been 
opposed  to  slavery  in  any  form,  and  declaring  that 
"  any  of  God's  creatures  who  are  denied  a  voice  in  the 
Government  of  their  country  are  more  or  less  slaves," 
and  that  "  men  have  no  right  to  assume  that  they  are 
so  superior  to  women,  that  they  alone  have  the  right 
to  govern." 

All  through  the  debate  everyone  was  waiting  for 
a  declaration  from  the  Government.  At  last  Mr. 
Herbert  Gladstone,  the  Home  Secretary,  rose  to 
speak,  but  his  words  were  vague  and  evasive,  and 
whilst  not  absolutely  excluding  the  possibility  of  the 
Government's  taking  the  matter  up,  he  certainly  made 
no  promise  on  their  behalf. 

At  ten  minutes  to  eleven  Mr.  Samuel  Evans  rose 
with  the  obvious  intention  of  talking  the  Resolution 
out  and,  as  eleven  o'clock,  the  hour  for  closing  the 
debate,  drew  nearer,  whilst  spinning  out  his  remarks 
by  means  of  some  very  doubtful  jokes,  he  kept  turn- 
ing round,  every  now  and  then,  to  look  at  the  clock. 
Our  eyes  were  also  eagerly  fixed  upon  the  timepiece. 
Every  moment  one  woman  or  another  stretched  across 
and  asked  Mrs.  Pankhurst  whether  the  demonstra- 
tion of  protest  should  begin,  but  her  answer  was  al- 
ways that  there  was  "  time  yet,"  and  that  we  must 

At  last  someone  looked  round  and  saw  that  the 
police  were  already  in  the  gallery  and  we  realised  that 
we  were  to  be  taken  away  in  order  that  the  Resolu- 
tion might  be  **  talked  out "  without  our  having  an 


opportunity  to  protest.  Irene  Miller  could  no  longer 
be  restrained.  She  called  out  loudly,  "  Divide  I 
Divide  I  "  as  they  do  in  the  House  of  Commons, 
and  **  We  refuse  to  have  our  Resolution  talked  out/* 
Then  we  all  followed  suit,  and  Theresa  Billington 
thrust  a  little  white  flag  bearing  the  words,  "  Votes 
for  Women  "  through  the  historic  grille.  It  was 
a  relief  to  thus  give  vent  to  the  feelings  of  indigna- 
tion which  we  had  been  obliged  to  stifle  during  the 
whole  of  the  evening,  and  though  we  were  dragged 
roughly  out  of  the  gallery,  it  was  with  a  feeling  al- 
most of  triumph  that  we  cried  shame  upon  the  men 
who  had  wasted  hours  in  useless  talk  and  pitiful  and 
pointless  jokes  with  which  to  insult  our  country- 

But  the  rough  usage  of  the  police  was  not  by  any 
means  the  hardest  part  of  the  experience.  When  we 
reached  the  Lobby,  we  learnt  that  our  action  had 
been  entirely  misunderstood.  A  number  of  non-mili- 
tant Suffragists  were  present,  and  most  of  these  be- 
lieved, as  the  Members  of  Parliament  were  telling 
them,  that,  but  for  our  **  injudicious  "  action,  a  vote 
would  have  been  taken  upon  the  Resolution.  They 
met  us  with  bitter  reproaches  and  disdainful  glances, 
and  even  those  Members  of  Parliament  who  had 
proved  themselves  to  be  absolutely  careless  of  our 
question,  now  took  it  upon  themselves  to  come  up 
and  scold  us.  On  all  sides  we  were  abused,  re- 
pudiated and  contemptuously  ridiculed,  but,  after 
a  few  days,  public  opinion  began  to  turn  somewhat 
in  our  favour.  It  leaked  out  that  the  Speaker  had 
not  intended  to  allow  a  Resolution  calling  for  the 
closure  of  the  debate  to  be  moved,  and  it  therefore 
became  known  that  we  had  judged  correctly  in  think- 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  1906  71 

ing  that  the  Women's  Suffrage  motion  was  to  be 
talked  out. 

Writing  in  the  Sussex  Daily  News  for  May  2nd, 
Mr.  Spencer  Leigh  Hughes,  well  known  under  his 
pen  name  "  Sub  Rosa,"  recalled  the  account  given 
in  Lady  Mary  Montague's  "  Memoirs  "  of  the  way 
in  which  the  Peeresses  of  the  eighteenth  century  had 
frequently  disturbed  the  serenity  of  the  House  of 
Lords  debates,  and  how  they  had  triumphed  over 
the  Lord  Chancellor  Philip  Yorke,  First  Earl  of 
Hardwicke,  who  had  attempted  to  exclude  them  from 
the  House  of  Lords.  Lady  Mary  describes  the 
"  thumping,"  "  rapping  "  and  "  running  kicks  "  at 
the  door  of  the  House  of  Lords,  indulged  in  by  the 
Duchess  of  Queensberry  and  her  friends,  the  strategy 
by  which  they  finally  obtained  an  entry,  and  the  way 
in  which,  during  the  subsequent  debate,  they  "  showed 
marks  of  dislike  not  only  by  smiles  and  winks  (which 
have  always  been  allowed  in  these  cases),  but  by 
noisy  laughs  and  apparent  contempts."  Mr.  Hughes 
ended  by  saying,  "  After  this  excellent  and  pertinent 
account  of  the  action  of  the  Peeresses  in  the  House 
of  Lords,  I  suppose  no  one  will  be  so  silly  as  to 
complain  of  what  the  women  did  the  other  day  in 
the  House  of  Commons." 

Mr.  $tead  in  the  Review  of  Reviews  published  an 
article  by  a  "  Woman's  Righter,"  who  said: 

Patience  has  been  tried  long  enough,  and  what  has  it 
brought?  Less  than  one  ten  minutes'  expression  of  the 
divine  impatience  that  the  Suffragists  showed  in  the  Ladies' 
Gallery  that  memorable  night !  .  .  .  "  Surely  it  was 
unwomanly?"  Pshaw!  It  was  not  anything  like  so  un- 
womanly as  it  was  unmanly  to  allow  a  cause  admittedly 
just  to  be  stifled  without  a  single  indignant  protest. 


Nevertheless,  our  supporters  were  still  in  the  minor- 
ity. Instead  of  upholding  what  we  had  done  to 
rebuke  the  anti-Suffragists  for  their  mean  and  cow- 
ardly policy  of  obstruction  (a  policy  which  had  pre- 
vented the  enfranchisement  of  women  for  so  many 
years),  the  National  Union  of  Women's  Suffrage  So- 
cieties and  some  of  the  members  of  the  Parliamentary 
Committee,  which  was  at  the  time  engaged  in  ar- 
ranging the  deputation  to  the  Prime  Minister,  now 
urged  that  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union 
had  disgraced  itself  too  deeply  to  form  part  of  the 
deputation.  Efforts  were  made  to  induce  us  to  with- 
draw from  it,  but  this  we  refused  to  do.  At  last, 
both  because  some  Members  of  Parliament  —  and  it 
is  said  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman  himself  — 
strongly  supported  our  claim  to  be  represented,  and 
because  it  was  well  known  that  if  we  were  not  re- 
ceived we  should  simply  agitate  for  another  deputa- 
tion, the  attempt  to  exclude  us  had  to  be  abandoned. 

On  the  morning  of  May  19th  our  procession 
started  from  the  Boadicea  statue  on  Westminster 
Bridge.  First  came  the  members  of  the  Deputation 
to  the  Prime  Minister,  amongst  whom  were  to  be 
seen  the  veteran  Suffragist,  fragile  little  Mrs.  Wol- 
stenholme  Elmy,  with  her  grey  curls,  Mrs.  Pankhurst, 
Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence,  Mr.  Keir  Hardie,  and  Annie 
Kenney,  wearing  the  clogs  and  shawl  which  she  had 
worn  in  the  Lancashire  cotton  mill.  Amongst  the 
deputation  marched  a  body  of  women  textile  workers 
from  Lancashire  and  Cheshire,  who  had  joined  us, 
carrying  the  bright  banners  of  their  respective  trades. 
Then  came  the  great  red  banner  of  the  Women's 
Social  and  Political  Union,  inscribed  in  white  letters 
with  the  words,  "We  demand  Votes  for  Women 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  1906  73 

this  Session."  The  poles  of  the  banner  were  lashed 
to  a  big  forage  lorry  in  which  rode  a  number  of 
women,  who  were  either  too  old  or  too  feeble  to 
walk.  After  these  came  the  members  of  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  and  women 
members  of  various  other  societies  and  last  of  all, 
a  large  contingent  from  the  East  End  of  London, 
a  piteous  band,  some  of  them  sweated  workers  them- 
selves, others  the  wives  of  unemployed  working  men, 
and  many  of  them  carrying  half-starved-looking  ba- 
bies in  their  arms. 

The  deputation  which  assembled  at  the  Foreign 
Office  was  introduced  by  Sir  Charles  M'Laren,  and 
It  was  arranged  that  there  should  be  eight  women 
speakers.  The  first  of  these  was  the  aged  Miss 
Emily  Davies,  LL.D.,  one  of  the  two  women  who 
in  1866,  more  than  forty  years  before,  had  handed 
to  John  Stuart  Mill  the  first  petition  for  Women's 
Suffrage  ever  presented  to  Parliament,  and  whose 
part  in  opening  the  University  examinations  to 
women,  and  in  founding  Girton,  the  first  of  the 
women's  colleges,  will  be  gratefully  remembered  by 
women  of  all  ages.  In  pleading  for  the  removal 
of  the  sex  disability  Miss  Davies  said :  '*  We  do  not 
regard  it  as  a  survival  which  nobody  minds.  We 
look  upon  it  as  an  offence  to  those  primarily  con- 
cerned, and  an  injury  to  the  community."  Then 
Mrs.  Eva  M'Laren,  Miss  Margaret  Ashton  and 
Mrs.  RoUand  Rainy,  representing  respectively  some 
80,000,  99,000  and  14,000  women  Liberals  in  Eng- 
land and  Scotland,  urged,  each  in  her  own  way,  that 
the  Party  for  which  these  women  had  done  so  much 
should  extend  the  franchise  to  them. 

Miss  Eva  Gore  Booth  and  Mrs.  Sarah  Dickinson, 


who  had  herself  been  a  factory  worker  for  sixteen 
years  and  a  Trade  Union  Organiser  for  a  further 
eleven  years,  then  spoke  on  behalf  of  the  fifty  dele- 
gates from  the  Lancashire  and  Cheshire  Textile  and 
other  Workers'  Representation  Committee.  They 
dwelt  on  the  low  wages  —  often  no  more  than  six  or 
seven  shillings  a  week,  and  the  other  heavy  economic 
hardships  under  which  the  women  whom  they  repre- 
sented were  obliged  to  labour.  They  pointed  out 
that  these  women,  millions  of  whom  since  leaving 
school  had  never  eaten  a  meal  which  they  had  not 
earned,  were  not  only  helping  to  produce  the  great 
wealth  of  the  country  but  were  caring  for  their  homes 
and  their  children  at  the  same  time,  and  urged  that 
they  were  every  day  more  gravely  conscious  of  the 
heavy  disadvantage  under  which  they  suffered  from 
their  absolute  lack  of  political  power.  Industrial 
questions  were  now  becoming  political  questions,  they 
said,  and  the  vast  numbers  of  women  workers  had 
their  point  of  view  and  their  interests  which  ought 
to  be  taken  into  consideration,  but  which  were  disre- 
garded because  they  were  without  votes. 

Next  followed  Mrs.  Gasson,  the  speaker  for  425 
branches  and  22,000  members  of  the  Women's  Co- 
operative Guild.  She  said  that  the  Co-operative 
movement,  with  its  62,000,000  members  and  annual 
trade  of  £60,000,000,  had  often  been  called  a 
"  State  within  a  State."  In  that  State  women  had 
votes,  they  attended  quarterly  business  meetings  and 
voted  side  by  side  with  men  on  questions  of  trade, 
employment  and  education.  Women  were  elected 
as  directors  of  Co-operative  societies  and  also  on  Ed- 
ucational Committees  connected  with  the  Co-operative 
movement.     And  yet  the  prosperity  of  the  co-opera- 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  75 

tive  "  State  "  continued  to  increase,  although  in  many 
places  the  women  members  outnumbered  the  men. 
The  Co-operative  Guild  Women  saw  that  when  ques- 
tions affecting  the  Co-operative  movement  came  be- 
fore Parliament  the  movement  lost  much  of  its  power 
because  the  women  had  no  vote.  Unwise  or  unjust 
taxation  was  injurious  to  the  Co-operative  trade,  and 
women  were  the  chief  sufferers  by  unjust  taxation. 
Whatever  taxes  were  put  upon  necessaries  men  did 
not  receive  larger  incomes,  and  so  women  had  less 
to  spend.  That  very  month  Mr.  Birrell  had  received 
Resolutions  from  large  conferences  of  the  Co-opera- 
tive Guild  members,  urging  that  medical  examination 
should  be  made  compulsory  under  the  New  Educa- 
tion Bill,  but  the  Resolutions  were  worth  nothing 
without  a  vote  behind  them.  The  women  who  had 
sent  up  these  Resolutions  felt  "  like  a  crying  child 
outside  the  door  of  a  locked  room,  demanding  en- 
trance with  no  one  to  open  it."  Most  of  the  Co- 
operators  were  married  working-women.  Their 
houses  were  both  their  workshops  and  their  homes, 
and  therefore  Housing  and  public  Health  questions 
were  especially  important  to  them.  Their  incomes 
were  affected  by  laws  relating  to  trades,  accidents, 
pensions  and  all  industrial  legislation  that  went  to 
secure  the  good  health  of  the  workers.  Therefore 
they  appealed  that  this  common  right,  the  right  of 
a  citizen,  should  be  granted  to  them  and  to  other 

Mrs.  Watson  spoke  on  behalf  of  the  Scottish 
Christian  Union  of  the  British  Women's  Temperance 
Association,  with  a  membership  of  52,000  women. 
Then  Mrs.  Mary  Bateson  presented  a  petition  for 
the  franchise  from  1,530  women  graduates,  amongst 


whom  were  Doctors  of  Letters,  Science  and  Law  in 
the  Universities  of  the  United  Kingdom,  the  British 
Colonies  and  the  United  States. 

Mrs.  Pankhurst  spoke  for  the  Women's  Social  and 
Political  Union,  the  militant  organisation  of  which 
most  of  the  others  were  half  afraid.  She  urged  on 
its  behalf  that  the  women  of  the  country  should  be 
enfranchised  during  that  very  year,  either  by  a  clause 
in  the  Plural  Voting  Bill  then  before  Parliament, 
or  by  a  separate  measure.  Assuring  the  Prime  Min- 
ister that  the  members  of  the  Union  believed  that  no 
business  could  be  more  pressing  than  this,  she  stated 
calmly  and  firmly  that  a  growing  number  of  them 
felt  the  question  of  Votes  for  Women  so  deeply  that 
they  were  prepared,  if  necessary,  to  sacrifice  for  it 
life  itself,  or  what  was  perhaps  even  harder,  the 
means  by  which  they  lived.  She  appealed  to  the 
Government  to  make  such  sacrifices  needless  by  doing 
this  long-delayed  act  of  justice  to  women  without 

Now  that  the  women  had  all  clearly  and  carefully 
laid  their  case  before  him.  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Ban- 
nerman  rose  to  reply.  He  began  as  though  he  had 
been  an  earnest  and  convinced  supporter  of  the 
Women's  cause  and  dwelt  at  length  not  only  upon 
the  benefits  which  the  franchise  would  confer  upon 
them,  but  also  on  the  enthusiasm  which  they  had 
shown  in  working  for  it,  their  fitness  to  exercise  it 
and  the  good  work  which  they  had  already  done  in 
public  affairs.  Then,  after  a  long  pause,  he  said: 
"  That  is  where  you  and  I  are  all  agreed.  It  has 
been  very  nice  and  pleasant  hitherto,  but  now  we 
come  to  the  question  of  what  I  can  say  to  you,  not 
as  expressing  my  own  individual  convictions,  but  as 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  n 

speaking  for  others,  and  I  have  only  one  thing  to 
preach  to  you  and  that  is  the  virtue  of  patience." 
With  hurried  hesitating  accents  he  explained  that 
there  were  members  of  his  Cabinet  who  were  op- 
posed to  the  principle  of  giving  votes  to  women, 
and  that,  therefore,  he  must  conclude  by  saying,  "  It 
would  never  do  for  me  to  make  any  statement  or 
pledge  under  these  circumstances.'*  Poor  blundering 
old  man,  if  he  really  spoke  truthfully  to  the  deputa- 
tion, one  may  well  pity  him  in  that  invidious  and 
humiliating  position. 

During  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman's  last 
words  there  had  been  a  strange  silence  amongst  the 
women,  and  as  he  resumed  his  seat  a  low  murmur 
of  disappointment  ran  through  the  room.  Mr.  Keir 
Hardie  had  been  asked  by  those  in  charge  of  the 
arrangements  to  move  the  vote  of  thanks  to  the  Prime 
Minister  for  having  received  the  Deputation,  and, 
though  he  now  performed  this  duty  with  character- 
istic graciousness  of  manner,  he  plainly  said  that  all 
present  must  have  suffered  great  disappointment  on 
hearing  the  Prime  Minister's  concluding  statement. 
Nevertheless,  they  were  glad  to  learn  that  the  leaders 
of  the  two  great  political  parties  in  the  House  of 
Commons  were  now  personally  committed  to  the 
question,  by  Mr.  Balfour,  a  statement  he  had  made 
in  the  House  a  few  evenings  before  and  the  Prime 
Minister  by  what  he  had  said  that  afternoon. 
"  With  agreement  between  the  leaders  of  the  two 
great  historic  parties,"  Mr.  Hardie  said  gravely, 
"  and  with  the  support  of  the  other  sections  of  the 
House,  it  surely  does  not  pass  the  wit  of  statesman- 
ship to  find  ways  and  means  for  the  enfranchisement 
of  the  women  of  England  before  this  Parliament 


comes  to  a  close."  At  this  point  Sir  Henry  Camp- 
bell-Bannerman  turned  and  looked  at  Mr.  Keir 
Hardie  and  solemnly  shook  his  head. 

After  the  resolution  had  been  seconded  Mrs.  Elmy, 
whose  name  had  not  been  placed  upon  the  authorised 
list  of  speakers,  interposed,  saying  that  she  had 
worked  in  the  cause  of  Women's  Suffrage  since  Octo- 
ber, 1865,  and  that  during  that  period  she  had  seen 
the  men  voters  of  the  country  increased  from  less 
than  700,000  to  more  than  7,000,000.  When  the 
Reform  Act  of  1884  had  been  under  consideration, 
women  Suffragists  had  been  full  of  hope,  but  Mr. 
Gladstone  had  refused  point  blank  to  give  them  the 
franchise.  No  Parliament  had  ever  offered  a  greater 
insult  to  womanhood  than  the  Parliament  of  that 
year,  for  it  had  actually  taken  six  or  seven  divisions 
on  the  point  as  to  whether  a  criminal  should  con- 
tinue to  be  disfranchised  for  more  than  a  year  after 
his  release  from  prison,  but  only  one  division  had 
been  taken  to  decide  that  English  women  should  not 
exercise  the  vote.  Every  year  it  had  become  more 
and  more  difficult  to  remedy  the  injustices  under 
which  women  suffered.  **  If  I  were  to  tell  you  of 
the  work  of  the  last  twenty  years  of  my  life,"  she 
said,  "  it  would  be  one  long  story  of  the  necessity 
for  the  immediate  enfranchisement  of  women." 

The  vote  of  thanks  to  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Ban- 
nerman  was  then  carried  with  feeble  spiritless  clap- 
ping and  some  hisses.  Then  the  Prime  Minister 
made  his  reply,  but  he  did  not  in  any  way  strengthen 
his  previous  declaration  and  ended  by  saying  that 
what  women  had  to  do  was  '*  to  go  on  converting 
the  country."     As  he  concluded  Annie  Kenney  sud- 

JANUARY  TO  MAY,  igo6  79 

denly  rose  up  and  cried,  **  Sir,  we  are  not  satisfied, 
and  the  agitation  will  go  on." 

Then  we  dispersed  to  meet  again  at  three  o'clock 
in  Trafalgar  Square.  No  better  meeting  place  could 
have  been  chosen,  for  it  was  here  in  Trafalgar  Square, 
that  Edmund  Beales  and  the  other  leaders  of  the 
Reform  movement  had  spoken  when  the  Hyde  Park 
gates  had  been  closed  against  them  by  the  authorities 
on  that  historic  23rd  of  July,  1866,  on  which  the 
Park  railings  were  pulled  down  and  the  blow  struck 
which  won  the  Parliamentary  vote  for  t;he  working 
men  in  the  towns.  It  was  here,  too,  that  in  Febru- 
ary, 1886,  John  Burns  had  made  that  speech  to  the 
starving  unemployed  men  of  his  own  class  which 
caused  him  to  suffer  a  month's  imprisonment  and 
made  him  a  famous  man,  and  it  was  here  in  Trafal- 
gar Square  on  the  5th  of  November,  1887,  that,  in 
taking  part  in  the  Demonstration  against  the  impris- 
onment of  O'Brien  and  the  other  Irish  leaders,  poor 
Alfred  Linnell  had  been  trampled  to  death  by  the 
horses  of  the  police.  - 

On  this  ground,  consecrate  to  the  discontented  and 
the  oppressed,  under  that  tall  column  topped  by  the 
statue  of  the  fighting  Nelson  and  on  that  wide  plinth, 
flanked  by  the  four  crouching  lions,  the  first  big  open- 
air  Women's  Suffrage  meeting  in  London  was  held. 
By  three  o'clock  more  than  7,000  people  had  assem- 
bled. I  well  remember  every  detail  of  the  scene. 
In  my  mind's  eye  I  can  clearly  see  the  Chairman,  my 
mother,  with  her  pale  face,  her  quiet  dark  clothes,  her 
manner,  calm  as  it  always  is  on  great  occasions,  and 
her  quiet-sounding  but  far-reaching  voice  with  its 
plaintive  minor  chords.     I  can  §ee  beside  her  the 


strangely  diverse  group  of  speakers:  Theresa  Bil- 
lington  in  her  bright  blue  dress,  strongly  built  and 
up-standing,  her  bare  head  crowned  with  those  brown 
coils  of  wonderfully  abundant  hair.  I  see  Keir 
Hardie,  in  his  rough  brown  homespun  jacket,  with 
his  deep-set,  honest  eyes,  and  his  face  full  of  human 
kindness,  framed  by  the  halo  of  his  silver  hair. 
Then  Mrs.  Elmy,  fragile,  delicate,  and  wonderfully 
sweet,  with  her  face  looking  like  a  tiny  bit  of  finely 
modelled,  finely  tinted  porcelain,  her  shining  dark- 
brown  eyes  and  her  long  grey  curls.  Standing  very 
close  to  her  is  Annie  Kenney,  whose  soft  bright  hair 
falls  loosely  from  her  vivid  sensitive  face,  and  hangs 
down  her  back  in  a  long  plait,  just  as  she  wore  it  in 
the  cotton  mill.  Over  her  head  she  wears  a  grey 
shawl  as  she  did  in  Lancashire,  and  pinned  to  her 
white  blouse  is  a  brilliant  red  rosette,  showing  her 
to  be  one  of  the  marshals  of  the  procession,  whilst 
her  dark-blue  serge  skirt  just  shows  the  steel  tips  of 
her  clogs.  How  beautiful  they  are,  these  two  women, 
as  hand  clasped  in  hand  they  stand  before  us !  —  one 
rich  in  the  mellow  ^sweetness  of  a  ripe  old  age  which 
crowns  a  life  of  long  toil  for  the  common  good;  the 
other  filled  with  the  ardour  of  a  chivalrous  youth; 
both  dedicated  to  a  great  reform.  But  now,  Annie 
Kenney  speaks.  She  stands  out,  a  striking,  almost 
startling,  figure,  against  the  blackened  stone-work  of 
the  plinth  and  speaks  with  a  voice  that  cries  out  for 
the  lost  childhood,  blighted  hopes  and  weary,  over- 
burdened lives  of  the  women  workers  whom  she 
knows  so  well. 



MAY  TO  AUGUST,  1906 

Deputations  to  Mr.  Asquith  at  Cavendish  Square; 
Women  Arrested  and  Imprisoned;  The  By-elec- 
tions AT  Cockermouth;  Adoption  of  the  Anti- 
Government  Policy. 

As  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman  had  told  the 
deputation  that  he  could  not  do  anything  for  us 
because  some  members  of  his  Cabinet  were  opposed 
to  Women's  Suffrage,  we  determined  to  bring  special 
pressure  to  bear  upon  the  hostile  Ministers,  the  most 
notorious  of  whom  was  Mr.  Asquith,  the  Chancellor 
of  the  Exchequer.  Strangely  enough,  just  as  we  had 
decided  upon  this  course  of  action,  we  were  virtually 
advised  to  adopt  it  by  no  less  a  person  than  Mr. 
Lloyd  George,  at  that  time.  President  of  the  Board 
of  Trade.  When  interrupted  by  Suffragettes  in 
Liverpool  Mr.  George  claimed  the  sympathy  of  the 
audience  on  the  ground  that  he  himself  was  a  be- 
liever in  Votes  for  Women,  and  said:  "  Why  do  they 
not  go  for  their  enemies  ?  Why  do  they  not  go  for 
their  greatest  enemy?"  At  once  there  was  a  cry 
of  "  Asquith !  Asquith  1  "  from  all  parts  of  the 
hall,  and  as  Mr.  Lloyd  George  made  no  attempt 
to  repudiate  the  suggestion  that  he  had  referred  to 
Mr.  Asquith,  it  was  very  generally  assumed  that  he 
had  done  so.  An  opportunity  to  "  go  for "  Mr. 
Asquith  soon  presented  itself  on  the  occasion  of  his 
6  81 


speaking  at  Northampton  on  June  14th.  A  few 
days  before  the  meeting,  Theresa  Billington  and 
Annie  Kenney  visited  the  town  and  in  a  series  of  open- 
air  meetings  took  the  people  of  the  place  entirely 
into  their  confidence,  with  the  result  that  Mr.  Asquith 
was  welcomed  not  by  cheering  but  by  hooting  crowds. 
During  the  meeting  and  at  the  end  of  his  speech 
Mr.  Asquith  was  questioned  by  several  women,  all 
of  whom  were  ejected  with  the  greatest  violence, 
whilst  the  audience  broke  into  the  now  familiar  tur- 
moil. The  cowardly  and  unnecessary  brutality  shown 
to  them  by  the  stewards  at  recent  Liberal  meetings, 
had  by  this  time  aroused  great  indignation  amongst 
the  women.  Theresa  Billington,  who  was  of  strong 
and  vigorous  physique  and  whose  instinct,  like  that 
of  every  man,  was  to  strike  back  if  she  were  hit, 
had  come  to  feel  that  she  could  no  longer  quietly 
endure  the  disgraceful  treatment  to  which  she  had 
been  subjected  on  several  occasions.  To  this  meet- 
ing therefore,  she  had  gone  armed  with  a  dogwhip, 
the  weapon  she  felt  most  suitable  to  employ  against 
cowardly  men.  Her  intention  was  not  to  use  it  if 
she  were  merely  dragged  out  of  the  meeting,  just 
as  a  man  might  have  been,  but  only  if  her  assail- 
ants should  seek  to  take  advantage  of  the  fact  that 
she  was  a  woman  and  should  behave  in  a  peculiarly 
objectionable  way.^  Therefore,  when  the  stewards 
had  torn  down  her  hair  and  treated  her  with  every 
form  of  indignity  and  violence,  not  merely  in  drag- 

1  Out  of  all  the  many  hundreds  of  women  who  have  taken 
part  in  the  militant  Suffrage  movement,  and  in  spite  of  the  many 
kinds  of  violence  to  which  they  have  been  subjected,  only  three 
women  upon  three  single  occasions,  have  ever  made  use  of  any 
weapon  to  protect  themselves  from  their  assailants. 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  1906   ^  83 

ging  her  from  the  hall  but  outside  in  the  corridors 
as  well,  she  had  pulled  out  her  whip  and  made  a 
fairly  free  use  of  it. 

The  general  trend  of  events  now  made  us  feel 
the  necessity  of  securing  a  personal  interview  with 
.  Mr.  Asquith,  and  we  therefore  wrote  asking  him  to 
receive  us.  He  replied  that  his  rule  was  not  to  re- 
ceive any  deputation  unconnected  with  his  office  of 
Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer,  and  we  then  wrote  as 
follows :  — 

To  THE  Right  Hon.  H.  H.  Asquith,  Chancellor  of 

THE  Exchequer. 

I  am  instructed  by  my  Committee  to  say  that  the  subject 
of  the  enfranchisement  of  women,  which  they  desire  to  lay 
before  you,  is  intimately  bound  up  with  the  duties  of  your 
office.  Upon  no  member  of  the  Cabinet  have  women  greater 
claims  than  upon  the  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer.  Your 
Budget  is  estimated  on  a  system  of  taxation  which  includes 
women.  Women  not  being  exempt  from  taxation  have  a 
right  to  claim  from  you  a  hearing.  Women  are  told  that 
you  are  mainly  responsible  for  the  refusal  of  the  Prime 
Minister  to  deal  with  their  claim.  But  being  convinced  of 
the  justice  of  giving  votes  to  women  they  renew  their  re- 
quest that  you  receive  a  deputation  on  an  early  date  in 
order  that  their  case  may  be  presented  to  you. 

Faithfully  yours, 

E.  Sylvia  Pankhurst. 
Hon.  Sec.  of  the  London  Committee  of  the  Women's  Social 

and  Political  Union  45,  Park  Walk,  Chelsea,  S.W. 

Mr.  Asquith  returned  no  answer  to  this  our 
second  letter,  and  therefore,  without  making  any  fur- 
ther attempt  to  obtain  his  consent,  we  wrote  to  hira 
saying  that  a  small  deputation  would  call  at  his 


house,  No.  20  Cavendish  Square,  on  the  morning  of 
Tuesday,  June  19th.  On  the  appointed  day  the 
women  arrived  just  before  10  o'clock  in  the  morn- 
ing, but,  early  as  it  was,  they  were  told  that 
Mr.  Asquith  had  already  gone  to  the  Treasury. 
They  thereupon  decided  that  half  their  number 
should  wait  on  the  doorstep  and  that  the  other  half 
should  go  to  look  for  him.  Those  who  went  to  the 
Treasury  were  told  that  Mr.  Asquith  had  not  ar- 
rived, and  those  who  remained  on  guard  at  his  house 
were  equally  unsuccessful,  for  whilst  they  had  been 
standing  there  waiting,  the  Chancellor  of  the  Ex- 
chequer had  escaped  through  the  back  door  in  a 
closed  motor  car. 

Our  determination  to  meet  Mr.  Asquith  face  to 
face  was  still  strong,  and  after  our  failure  to  see 
him  on  the  Tuesday  we  at  once  wrote  to  say  that 
we  were  sending  a  larger  deputation  to  interview 
him  in  two  days'  time.  We  had  now  three  flourish- 
ing branches  of  the  Union  in  London,  one  in  the 
centre  and  two  in  the  East  End,  and  some  thirty  or 
forty  representatives,  partly  drawn  from  these 
branches  and  partly  from  our  central  Committee, 
formed  the  deputation. 

Carrying  little  white  Votes-for- Women  flags  and 
headed  by  Theresa  Billington,  some  thirty  of  the  East 
End  members  marched  off  in  procession  for  Mr.  As- 
quith's  house ;  but  on  arriving  at  the  edge  of  Caven- 
dish Square,  they  were  met  by  a  strong  force  of  police 
who  told  them  that  they  must  at  once  turn  back. 
The  poor  women  stood  still  in  affright,  but  would 
not  turn.  Then  the  police  fell  upon  them  and  began 
to  strike  and  push  them  and  to  snatch  their  flags 
away.     Theresa  Billington  tried  in  vain  to  prevent 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  tgo6  85 

this  violence,  "We  will  go  forward,**  she  cried* 
**  You  shall  not  hit  our  women  like  that,**  but  a 
policeman  struck  her  in  the  face  with  his  fist  and 
another  pinioned  her  arms.  Then  she  was  seized  by 
the  throat  and  forced  against  the  railings  until,  as 
was  described  by  an  onlooker,  "  she  became  blue 
in  the  face."  She  struggled  as  hard  as  she  could  to 
free  herself  but  was  dragged  away  to  the  police 
station  with  the  East  End  workers  following  in  her 

Immediately  afterwards  Annie  Kenney,  with  a 
number  of  others,  most  of  whom  were  members  of 
our  Committee,  came  into  the  Square.  Annie  knew 
nothing  of  what  had  taken  place  and,  preoccupied 
and  intent  on  her  mission,  she  walked  quickly  across 
the  road,  but,  as  she  mounted  the  steps  of  Mr. 
Asquith's  house  and  stretched  out  her  hand  to  ring 
his  bell,  a  policeman  seized  her  roughly  by  the  arm 
and  she  found  herself  under  arrest.  Following 
this,  Mrs.  Knight,  one  of  the  East  End  workers,  who, 
because  she  suffered  from  hip  disease  had  felt  that 
she  could  not  walk  in  the  procession,  came  into  the 
Square  and  crossed  the  road.  On  seeing  none  of  the 
other  women  she  concluded  that  they  had  already 
gone  into  Mr.  Asquith's  house.  She  intended  to 
join  them  but,  just  as  she  was  about  to  step  on  to 
the  pavement  opposite  No.  20,  she  was  roughly 
pushed  off  the  curb-stone  by  a  policeman  and  ar- 
rested as  soon  as  she  attempted  to  take  another  step 
forward.  Mrs.  Sparborough,  a  respectable  elderly 
woman  dressed  with  scrupulous  neatness  in  worn 
black  garments,  who  by  the  work  of  her  needle  sup- 
ported herself  and  her  aged  husband,  stood  watch- 
ing this  scene  in  deep  distress.     Noticing  that  two 


maid  servants  and  some  ladies  at  the  window  of 
Mr.  Asquith's  house  were  laughing  and  clapping 
their  hands,  she  turned  to  them  protesting  gravely: 
**  Oh,  don't  do  that.  Oh,  don't  do  that.  It  is  a 
serious  matter.  That  is  how  the  soldiers  were  sent 
to  FeatherstoneJ'  ^  A  policeman  immediately 
pounced  upon  her  and  dragged  her  away. 

At  the  police  court  afterwards  Theresa  Billington, 
on  being  charged  with  an  assault  upon  the  police, 
refused  either  to  give  evidence  or  to  call  witnesses  in 
her  defence,  saying  that  she  objected  to  being  tried 
by  a  court  composed  entirely  of  men  and  under  laws 
in  the  framing  of  which  men  alone  had  been  con- 
sulted. Her  plea  was  abruptly  swept  aside  and  she 
was  ordered  to  pay  a  fine  of  £io  or  in  default  to  go 
to  prison  for  two  months.^ 

Miss  Billington  chose  imprisonment,  but  her  reso- 
lution was  balked  by  "an  anonymous  reader  of  the 
Daily  Mirror/^  who  handed  the  amount  of  her  fine 
^to  the  Governor  of  HoUoway  Gaol.^ 

1  Some  years  before  a  trades  dispute  had  taken  place  at 
Featherstone  in  the  course  of  which  Mr.  Asquith  was  said  to 
have  ordered  that  the  military  should  be  called  out,  and  as  a 
result  the  soldiers  had  fired  upon  the  workingmen  who  were  on 
strike.  In  consequence  of  this  Mr.  Asquith  became  so  unpop- 
ular that  he  was  frequently  assailed  at  Public  Meetings  by  the 
cry  of  "Featherstone  Asquith,  the  Assassin."  Mrs.  Sparbor- 
ough,  like  many  other  persons  had  of  course  read  of  this. 

2  On  a  protest  being  raised  in  the  House,  this  sentence  was 
afterwards  reduced  by  half. 

3  In  the  case  of  Christabel  Pankhurst  and  Annie  Kenney,  the 
Governor  of  Strangeways  had  refused  money  tendered  to  him  by 
outsiders,  saying  that  he  was  not  authorised  to  accept  a  fine 
paid  in  this  way,  but  now  the  Governor  of  Holloway,  after  con- 
sultation with  the  Home  Office  accepted  the  fine,  and  told  Miss 
Billington  that  she  must  leave  the  prison. 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  igo6  87 

The  charges  of  disorderly  conduct  against  the 
other  three  women  were  adjourned  until  July  14th. 

Every  charge  against  the  prisoners,  except  that 
of  being  in  Cavendish  Square  with  the  object  of 
seeing  Mr.  Asquith  broke  down,  but  Mr.  Paul 
Taylor,  the  magistrate,  who  seemed  quite  incapable 
even  of  trying  to  understand  their  motives,  decided 
that  they  had  created  an  obstruction  and  ordered 
them  to  enter  into  their  own  recognisances  in  the 
sum  of  £50  and  to  find  one  surety  for  the  same 
amount,  to  be  of  good  behaviour  and  to  keep  the 
peace  for  twelve  months.  In  the  event  of  their  not 
finding  such  sureties  and  consenting  to  be  so  bound 
over  he  ordered  that  they  should  be  sent  to  prison 
for  six  weeks. 

To  agree  to  be,  bound  over  to  keep  the  peace  would 
have  been  both  an  admission  of  wrongdoing  and  a 
promise  to  refrain  from  similar  methods  of  agitation. 
Rather  than  this  Annie  Kenney  preferred  to  suffer 
a  second  imprisonment  and  the  other  women,  though 
they  had  but  recently  joined  the  Union  and  though 
many  friends  urged  that  they  had  already  done  good 
work  and  might  now  fairly  return  to  their  homes, 
decided  that  they  too  would  go  to  gaol. 

In  the  meantime  there  were  stirring  doings  in 
Manchester.  On  June  23rd  there  had  been  a  great 
Liberal  Demonstration  at  the  Zoological  Gardens, 
Belle  View,  on  the  outskirts  of  the  town,  where  Mr. 
Lloyd  George,  Mr.  John  Burns  and  Mr.  Churchill 
had  been  the  principal  speakers.  Representatives  of 
the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  had  been 
present  to  question  the  Cabinet  Minister  and  had 
been  thrown  out  as  soon  as  they  had  raised  their 
voices.     In  the  scuffle  Mr.  Morrissey,  a  Liverpool 


city  councillor,  intervened  to  protect  his  wife  from 
the  violence  of  the  stewards  and  was  very  roughly 
used.  As  the  Suffragettes  were  flung  by  the  stewards 
into  the  public  road  outside  they  were  ordered  to 
moye  on  by  the  police  and  because  Mr.  Morrissey, 
whose  leg  had  been  seriously  injured  by  his  assail- 
ants, was  unable  to  walk  away,  he  was  arrested. 
Seeing  this  my  youngest  sister,  Adela,  then  scarcely 
out  of  her  teens,  and  only  about  five  feet  in  height, 
expostulated  with  one  of  the  constables  and  in  doing 
so  laid  her  hand  upon  his  arm,  saying,  "  Surely  you 
can  see  that  Mr.  Morrissey  cannot  walk  I  "  But 
at  that  she  was  accused  of  attempting  to  effect  a 
rescue,  and  was  also  taken  into  custody.  The  coun- 
cillor's wife  and  a  friend,  who  both  offered  similar 
protests,  were  treated  in  the  same  way.  The  case 
of  these  four  people  came  up  in  Manchester  simul- 
taneously with  that  of  Annie  Kenney  and  her  com- 
rades in  London,  with  the  result  that  Adela  was  com- 
mitted to  prison  for  a  week  on  refusing  to  pay  a 
fine  ^  of  five  shillings  and  costs  whilst  Mrs.  Morrissey 
and  Mrs.  Mitchell  on  refusing  to  be  bound  over  to 
keep  the  peace  were  imprisoned  for  three  days.  Of 
course  this  punishment  was  for  daring  to  urge  an 
unwelcome  question  upon  Members  of  the  Govern- 
ment, but  as  this  was  not  a  punishable  act  the 
charges  of  disorderly  conduct  outside  in  the  road  had 
been  trumped  up. 

The  question  of  these  trials  was  raised  in  the 
House  of  Commons  by  Mr.  Keir  Hardie,  who  de- 
clared that  it  was  stretching  the  law  too  far  to  for- 

^Mr.  Morrissey,  who  could  not  afford  to  leave  his  business, 
was  regretfully  obliged  to  pay  his  fine. 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  1906  89 

bid  a  deputation  to  approach  a  private  house.  He 
also  pointed  out  that  Mr.  James  Kendall,  one  of 
the  magistrates  who  had  tried  the  case  of  the  Man- 
chester Suffragettes,  and  had  been  Chief  Steward  at 
the  Liberal  meeting  from  which  they  had  been 
ejected,  Mr.  Cremer  and  Mr.  Maddison  both  de- 
livered vindictive  speeches  against  the  Suffragettes, 
the  former  describing  the  sentence  passed  upon 
them  as  "  extremely  lenient "  and  the  latter  re- 
ferring to  them  as  ''  female  hooligans."  The  more 
sensational  and  less  reputable  of  the  newspapers 
adopted  a  similar  line  speaking  of  the  women  as 
^'Kenney,"  "Knight"  and  "  Sparborough,"  call- 
ing them  '*  mock  martyrs  "  and  "  martyrettes  "  and 
publishing  hideous  and  libellous  drawings  of  them. 
Even  the  staider  and  more  serious  periodicals  gave 
one-sided  and  biassed  accounts  of  what  had  taken 
place,  rebuking  the  Suffragettes  for  what  they 
termed  their  **  disgraceful  behaviour,"  telling  them 
that  they  were  "  ruining "  their  cause,  and  urging 
them  to  save  it  by  returning  to  '*  Constitutional  "  and 
**  orderly  "  methods  of  propaganda. 

The  following  interesting  and  valuable  letter 
to  the  press  from  Mr.  T.  D.  Benson,  the  Treasurer 
of  the  Independent  Labour  Party  cleverly  exposed 
the  hypocrisy  of  these  strictures :  — 

Dear  Sir: 

Having  had,  through  illness,  plenty  of  time  on  my  hands 
this  last  week,  I  have  made  a  calculation  of  the  number  of 
years  which  the  lady  Suffragettes  have  put  back  their  move- 
ment. I  find  that  it  amounts  to  somewhat  about  235  years. 
The  realisation  therefore,  of  their  aims  is,  according  to  this 
mode  of  chronology,  as  far  off  in  the  future  as  the  Plague 
and  the  Fire  of  London  are  in  the  past.     Nevertheless,  I 


shall  not  be  surprised  if  they  succeed  within  the  next  twelve 
months,  or  two  or  three  years  at  the  most. 

Of  course,  when  men-  wanted  the  franchise,  they  did  not 
behave  in  the  unruly  manner  of  our  feminine  friends.  They 
were  perfectly  constitutional  in  their  agitation.  In  Bristol 
I  find  they  only  burnt  the  Mansion  House,  the  Custom 
House,  the  Bishop's  Palace,  the  Excise  Office,  three  prisons, 
four  toll-houses,  and  forty-two  private  dwellings  and  ware- 
houses, and  all  in  a  perfectly  constitutional  and  respectable 
manner.  Numerous  constitutional  fires  took  place  in  the 
neighbourhoods  of  Bedford,  Cambridge,  Canterbury  and 
Devizes.  Four  men  were  respectably  hanged  at  Bristol  and 
three  in  Nottingham.  The  Bishop  of  Lichfield  was  nearly 
killed,  and  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  was  insulted, 
spat  upon,  and  with  great  difficulty  rescued  from  amongst 
the  yells  and  execrations  of  a  violent  and  angry  mob.  The 
Suffragists  in  those  days  had  a  constitutional  weakness  for 
Bishops,  and  a  savage  vandalism  towards  cathedrals  and 
bishops'  palaces.  A  general  strike  was  proposed,  and  secret 
arming  and  drilling  commenced  in  most  of  the  great  Chartist 
centres.  Wales  broke  out  even  into  active  rebellion,  and 
nine  men  were  condemned  to  death.  At  London,  Bradford, 
York,  Sheffield,  Liverpool,  Chester,  Taunton,  Durham  and 
many  other  towns  long  sentences  of  penal  servitude  were 
passed.  In  this  way  the  males  set  a  splendid  example  of 
constitutional  methods  in  agitating  for  the  franchise.  I 
think  we  are  well  qualified  to  advise  the  Suffragettes  to 
follow  our  example,  to  be  respectable  and  peaceful  in  their 
methods  like  we  were,  and  then  they  will  have  our  sympathy 
and  support. 

Yours  truly, 
"  The  Downs,"  T.  D.  Benson. 

July  3rd,  1906. 

The  day  after  the  trial  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence 
received   from   Annie   Kenney   a   little  note  hastily 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  1906  91 

scribbled  in  pencil  and  posted  by  some  kind-hearted 
person  just  as  she  was  being  taken  away  from  the 
Police  Court  cell.  "  I  am  writing  this,"  it  read, 
*'  before  going  in  the  van.  I  am  very  happy  and 
I  shall  keep  up  and  be  brave  and  true,  and  when  I 
come  out  I  shall  be  fully  prepared  to  do  anything  the 
Union  asks  of  me." 

As  yet  most  of  us  knew  little  of  the  interior  of  a 
prison,  but,  on  those  burning  July  days,  we  knew 
enough  to  think  with  sorrow  and  anxiety  of  our 
comrades  shut  away  from  the  beauty  of  the  summer 
in  the  heat  of  their  small,  stifling  cells.  We  heard 
with  joy  that  they  were  happy  and  contented  to 
suffer  imprisonment  for  the  women's  cause. 

And  now  it  seemed  to  us  as  though  the  spirit  of 
revolt  against  oppression  were  flowing  onward  and 
spreading,  like  some  great  tide  to  all  the  woman- 
hood of  the  world.  We  read  of  that  wonderful 
Marie  Spiridorovna,  the  Russian  girl  who  after  en- 
during the  most  incredible  and  unspeakable  tor- 
ture and  dying  in  the  agony  of  her  wounds,  was  yet 
upborne  by  the  greatness  oir  the  cause  for  which  she 
suffered,  and  cried  with  her  last  breath,  "  Mother, 
I  die  of  joy."  The  movement  towards  liberty  then 
springing  up  amongst  the  women  of  the  Far  East 
also  inspired  us.  We  read  of  the  words  of  one  of 
the  Korean  women  leaders  who  said :  — 

The  women  of  our  country  are  the  most  pitiable  of  all 
civilised  humanity.  .  .  .  They  are  enclosed  like  pris- 
oners, bottled  up  like  fish.  But  we  must  remember  that 
after  the  cock  crows  the  dawn  comes,  and  after  work  there 
is  reward.  Should  we  but  put  forth  together  our  feeble 
efforts  a  way  will  be  found  of  accomplishing  our  object 
and  women  will  gradually  be  able  to  stand  in  the  shining 


light  of  the  sun  and   to  breathe  the  sweet  heavenly  air 
freely  and  happily. 

News  of  the  Women's  cry  for  freedom  came  to 
us  from  North,  South,  East  and  West,  and  we 
felt  ourselves  part  of  a  Universal  movement.  We 
were  keyed  up  to  any  sacrifice.  We  felt  that  the 
fate  of  other  women  depended  upon  us.  We  knew 
that  our  battle  to  overcome  the  first  and  greatest 
barrier  —  to  obtain  political  liberty  —  was  to  be  a 
sharp  one.  We  hoped  it  would  be  short.  We 
heard  that  on  June  14th,  but  a  month  before  our 
women  had  gone  to  prison, -the  women  of  Finland 
had  gained  their  vote.  We  believed  then  that  the 
franchise  would  be  won  for  British  women  within 
a  few  months'  time. 

Very  soon  after  Annie  Kenney,  Mrs.  Knight  and 
Mrs.  Sparborough  had  gone  to  prison,  another  op- 
portunity occurred  for  our  Union  to  strike  a  blow  at 
the  Government,  for  it  was  announced  that  there  was 
to  be  a  by-election ;  this  time  at  Cockermouth.  Chris- 
tabel  was  at  first  the  only  member  of  the  Union 
free  to  take  part  in  the  Election.  She  at  once  intro- 
duced an  entirely  new  departure  in  electioneering  tac- 
tics by  hiring  a  stall  in  the  market-place,  where  she 
sold  Votes-for-Women  literature.  When,  by  this 
means  she  had  collected  a  sufficient  crowd  around  her, 
she  mounted  a  stool  and  addressed  the  people,  explain- 
ing to  the  electors  that  she  wished  them  to  vote 
against  the  Liberal  candidate  in  order  to  show  the 
Government  that  they  did  not  approve  of  its  re- 
fusal to  give  votes  to  women.  After  a  time  other 
women  joined  her  and  the  little  band  of  Suffragettes 
made  a  considerable  impression  upon  the  people  of 
Cockermouth,  who  had  heard  of  the  imprisonments 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  1906  93 

in  London  and  Manchester  and  who  were  deeply 
moved  by  learning  that  women  were  prepared  thus 
to  fight  and  to  suffer  for  their  cause.  When  on 
August  3rd,  the  poll  was  declared,  it  was  found 
that  the  Liberals  had  lost  the  seat  which  had  long 
been  held  for  them  by  Sir  Wilfred  Lawson,  and  that 
Sir  John  Randies,  the  Unionist  candidate  had  been 
returned  by  a  majority  of  690.     The  figures  being : 

Sir  John  Randies  (U) 4,593 

Hon.  F.  Guest  (L) 3,903 

Robert  SmilHe  (Lab.) 1,436 

The  Votes  at  the  General  Election  had  been : 

Sir  W.  Lawson  (L) * 5,439 

Sir  J.  Randies  (U) 4,784 

Probably  because  the  Liberal  nominee  against 
whom  she  was  working  had  been  returned  to  Parlia- 
ment, and  also  because  she  had  been  single-handed, 
Mrs.  Drummond's  campaign  at  Eye  had  passed  al- 
most unnoticed  outside  the  constituency  itself.  At 
Cockermouth,  on  the  other  hand,  the  Liberal  had 
been  defeated,  and  so  it  naturally  followed  that  all 
the  influences  that  had  led  to  his  defeat  were  care- 
fully analysed  by  the  politicians  and  the  Press. 
Some  of  the  members  of  the  Women's  Social  and 
Political  Union  had  formerly  been  Liberals  and 
though  the  Liberal  leaders  steadfastly  declared  that 
the  action  of  women  could  make  no  possible  differ- 
ence to  the  situation,  they  were  very  deeply  in- 
censed by  the  thought  that  women  should  dare  to 
put  the  question  of  their  own  enfranchisement  be- 
fore every  other  consideration  and,  instead  of  seek- 


ing  to  win  the  Government's  favour  as  they  had 
done  In  the  past,  should  prefer  attempting  to  force 
those  in  power  to  attend  to  their  claims. 

To  a  man  the  politicians  were  surprised.  *'  Who 
would  have  dreamt,"  they  said,  "  that  women  could 
be  so  selfish  ? "  Though  their  candidate,  Mr. 
Robert  Smillie,  had  not  been  attacked,  the  Labour 
men  were  also  discontented,  for  there  were  Labour 
women  in  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union, 
and  they  considered  that  these  particular  women 
ought  to  have  been  working  directly  for  the  Labour 
Party  and  not  to  have  been  subordinating  its  inter- 
ests to  the  getting  of  votes  for  themselves.  The 
Conservatives  meanwhile  said  very  little  about  the 
matter,  for  their  candidate  had  won  and  having, 
therefore,  no  reason  to  be  aggrieved,  they  con- 
tented themselves  with  declaring  that  a  glorious 
victory  had  been  won  for  the  cause  of  Tariff  Re- 

So  much  for  the  politicians.  The  Party- follow- 
ing Press,  with  scarcely  an  exception,  had  been 
unanimous  from  the  very  first  in  their  hostility  to 
the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  and  its 
methods.  Now,  as  before,  they  either  shook  their 
heads  at  us,  expressing  sorrow  and  regret  that  we 
should  place  ourselves  in  opposition  to  the  "  forces 
of  progress,"  or  merely  professed  amusement  that 
we  should  be  so  foolish  and  conceited  as  to  think 
that  anything  that  we  could  say  or  do  would  influ- 
ence elections. 

Timid  and  half-hearted  friends  of  the  Suffrage 
movement  also  condemned  the  new  by-election  policy 
on  the  ground  that  it  was  unwise  for  women  to  thus 
oppose  the  Government  that  had  the  power,  if  it 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  igo6  95 

wished,  to  give  them  what  they  asked.  All  this, 
of  course,  was  to  be  expected,  and  so  was  compara- 
tively easy  to  meet  —  it  is  what  every  true  reformer 
has  had  to  face.  But  even  amongst  some  of  those 
who  had  been  hitherto  the  warmest  supporters  of 
the  Suffragettes  and  all  that  they  had  done,  there  was 
much  heart-searching  and  heart-burning  because  of 
the  independent  by-election  policy,  and  it  was  felt 
by  these  that  a  mistake  was  being  made  in  thus 
holding  aloof  from  Men's  party  organisations  and 
counting  as  nought  the  opinions  of  private  Members 
of  Parliament.  The  W.  S.  P.  U.  pointed  out  to 
them  that  a  large  majority  of  the  private  Members 
in  the  House  of  Commons  had  long  been  pledged 
to  give  their  support  to  Women's  Suffrage  but  that 
these  pledges  had  been  useless.  This  was  due  in 
the  first  place  to  the  fact  that  private  Members  had 
little  power  to  carry  their  pledges  into  effect  because 
practically  all  the  time  at  the  disposal  of  Parliament 
was  taken  up  by  the  Government,  and  that,  as  had 
been  done  on  the  29th  of  April,  a  few  obstructionists 
could  easily  block  the  question  unless  the  party  in 
power  were  prepared  to  find  further  time  for  it. 
Besides  this,  private  members  had  over  and  over 
again  shown  that  they  would  willingly  break  the 
pledges  they  had  made  to  women  at  the  bidding 
of  their  party  leaders. 

But  these  explanations  failed  to  reassure  many 
faint-hearted  doubters,  for  though  they  agreed  that 
in  theory  the  independent  policy  was  well  enough, 
they  felt  convinced  that  in  practice  it  was  doomed 
to  fail.  They  freely  admitted  that  the  women,  by 
their  clever  speeches  and  the  undeniable  justice  of 
their  cause,  would  be  almost  certain  to  convince  the 


electors  that  they  were  in  the  right,  but  they  urged 
that  the  British  elector  was  a  hard-headed  individual, 
who  could  never  be  induced  to  throw  aside  his  party 
politics  and  to  cast  his  vote  on  this  one  issue  alone, 
especially  as  this  issue  was  a  women's  question  that 
did  not  directly  affect  him. 

So  these  critics  agreed  that  the  policy  would  "  be 
possible  with  an  electorate  of  heroes,  but  not  with 
average  men."     For  this  reason  it  must  fail. 

But  in  spite  of  these  gloomy  predictions  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  held  to  its 
course,  and  did  not  swerve  one  hair's-breadth  from 
the  plan  of  campaign  that  it  had  laid  down. 

An  Anti-Government  election  policy  has  fre- 
quently been  employed  by  men  politicians;  notably 
by  the  Irish  under  Parnell.  In  the  course  of  the 
agitation  for  the  repeal  of  the  Contagious  Diseases 
Acts,  Mrs.  Josephine  Butler  and  her  colleagues 
fought  the  Government  at  many  by-elections,  but 
with  that  exception  an  Anti-Government  by-election 
policy  had  never  been  adopted  by  women.  In  fol- 
lowing it  out  now,  when  many  members,  even  of 
our  own  Committee  doubted  its  wisdom,  and  few 
were  really  enthusiastic  in  its  favour,  Christabel 
Pankhurst,  its  originator  In  this  case,  gave  evidence 
of  that  keen  political  insight  and  that  indomitable 
courage  and  determination  which  are  so  essential  to 
real  leadership,  and  which  have  since  enabled  her  to 
steer  the  Suffragette  ship  through  so  many  dangerous 
shoals  and  quicksands. 

On  August  14th  the  three  Suffragettes,  "  Mr. 
Asquith's  Prisoners,"  as  they  had  been  called,  were 
released  from  HoUoway.     They  were  all  cheerfully 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  1906  97 

and  bravely  uncomplaining.  Mrs.  Knight  and 
Annie  Kenney  were  bodi  white  and  feeble-looking 
but  only  spoke  of  their  anxiety  to  be  of  service  to 
the  cause,  whilst  Mrs.  Sparborough,  though  she  had 
got  rheumatism  through  being  made  to  scrub  the 
stone  floor  of  her  cell  without  a  kneeler,  made  light 
of  the  imprisonment,  saying  that  she  had  felt  peace- 
ful and  happy  and  had  sung  hymns  to  herself  to 
drive  her  loneliness  away. 

And  now  great  meetings  of  welcome  to  the  pris- 
oners were  being  held  in  London  and  Provincial 
campaigns  were  being  organised  in  various  parts  of 
the  country.  Everywhere  that  the  fiery  torch  of 
zeal  and  enthusiasm  was  carried  there  was  warm 
sympathy  from  the  masses  of  the  people  and  the 
slumbering  desire  for  enfranchisement  amongst  all 
classes  of  women  began  to  awake.  Mrs.  Lawrence 
was  holding  a  series  of  fine  meetings  in  Yorkshire. 
Annie  Kenney,  after  addressing  vast  and  enthusias- 
tic crowds  in  Lancashire,  made  her  way  up  to  Scot- 
land and  with  Theresa  Billington  went  on  to  Mr. 
Asquith's  constituency  of  East  Fife.  Aroused  by 
their  speeches  the  women  here  demanded  that  The 
Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer  should  receive  them  in 
deputation.  He  judged  it  wisest  to  consent,  but 
protected  himself  from  meeting  the  two  ex-prisoners 
by  stipulating  that  only  residents  in  the  constituency 
should  be  present.  In  his  reply  to  this  deputation 
he  declared  himself  to  be  still  an  opponent  of  their 
cause.  "  Then  there  is  no  hope  for  women?  "  asked 
one  of  them;  but  he  only  answered  **  Women  must 
work  out  their  own  salvation." 

In  Wales  the  flag  of  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  was  being 


hoisted  by  Mary  Gawthorpe,^  another  new  recruit, 
a  winsome,  merry  little  creature,  with  bright  hair 
and  laughing  hazel  eyes,  a  face  fresh  and  sweet 
as  a  flower,  the  dainty  ways  of  a  little  bird,  and 
having  with  all  so  shrewd  a  tongue  and  so  sparkling 
a  fund  of  repartee,  that  she  held  dumb  with  aston- 
ished admiration,  vast  crowds  of  big,  slow-thinking 
workmen  and  succeeded  in  winning  to  good-tem- 
pered appreciation  the  stubbornist  opponents. 
Whilst  she  was  in  his  constituency,  it  was  announced 
that  Mr.  Samuel  Evans  who  had  "  talked  out "  the 
Votes-for- Women  resolution  on  the  twenty-ninth  of 
April,  and  who  was  now  appointed  a  Law  Officer 
of  the  Crown,  was  coming  to  speak  to  his  constit- 
uents. Miss  Gawthorpe  determined  to  talk  him  out 
as  he  had  '*  talked  out "  the  Women's  resolution. 
She  therefore  attended  two  of  his  meetings  and  at 
the  first  of  these  was  dragged  out  by  the  stewards, 
but  at  the  second  a  strong  force  of  men  gathered 
round  to  protect  her  and  insisted  that  she  should  be 
heard.  The  Chairman  then  tried  to  checkmate  her 
by  playing  the  Welsh  National  Anthem,  but  little 
Mary  won  all  hearts  by  leading  off  the  singing, 
and  so  poor  a  figure  did  Mr.  Samuel  Evans  cut 

1  Mary  Gawthorpe  had  become  a  pupil  teacher  at  the  age  of 
thirteen  and  had  worked  for  her  living  from  that  time.  Amongst 
other  distinctions,  she  had  taken  a  first  class  King's  Scholarship. 
She  had  represented  the  Leeds  Labour  Church  on  the  Local 
Labour  Representation  Committee.  She  had  been  a  member  of 
the  Leeds  Committee  for  the  Feeding  of  School  Children,  and 
the  Leeds  Committee  of  the  National  Union  of  Teachers.  In 
1906  she  had  been  elected  as  Labour  delegate  to  the  University 
Extension  Committee,  she  was  Vice-President  of  the  Leeds  In- 
dependent Labour  Party  and  Secretary  to  the  Women's  Labour 

MAY  TO  AUGUST,  1906  99 

that  Mrs.  Evans  was  said  to  have  declared  that  next 
time  there  was  a  Women's  Suffrage  debate  in  the 
House  of  Commons  she  should  keep  her  husband 
at  home. 

In  London  the  work  was  being  organised  by  Chris- 
tabel,  who  amongst  other  things  was  conducting  an 
active  campaign  in  Battersea,  the  constituency  repre- 
sented by  Mr.  John  Burns,  the  President  of  the 
Local  Government  Board.  The  income  of  the 
Union  was  still  very  small,  and  everything  had  to 
be  done  with  the  strictest  possible  economy.  The 
money  for  meetings  in  halls  was  only  forthcoming  on 
very  special  occasions,  and  wherever  possible  the 
expenses  of  printing  and  advertising  were  curtailed. 
A  large  number  of  meetings  were  held  at  street 
corners,  with  a  chair  borrowed  from  a  neighbouring 
shop  as  platform,  and,  in  order  to  collect  a  crowd, 
my  sister  started  the  custom  of  ringing  a  large  muffin 
bell.  One  of  those  who  had  been  greatly  impressed 
by  the  work  of  our  Union  was  Miss  Elizabeth 
Robins,  the  novelist,  whose  impressions  of  these 
early  days  of  the  movement  are  so  graphically  de- 
scribed in  her  novel.  The  Convert. 

The  following  extract  from  this  book  is  a  very 
truthful  picture  of  a  typical  Battersea  meeting: 

In  Battersea  you  go  into  some  modest  little  restaurant, 
and  you  say,  "  Will  you  lend  me  a  chair?  "  This  is  a  sur- 
prise for  the  restauranteur.  .  .  .  Ernestine  carries  the 
chair  into  the  road  and  plants  it  in  front  of  the  fire  station. 
Usually  there  are  two  or  three  helpers.  Sometimes  Ernes- 
tine if  you  please,  carries  the  meeting  entirely  on  her  own 
shoulders  —  those  same  shoulders  being  about  so  wide.  Yes, 
she  is  quite  a  little  thing.  If  there  are  helpers  she  sends 
them  up  and  down  the  street  sowing  a  fresh  crop  of  hand- 


bills.  When  Ernestine  is  ready  to  begin  she  stands  on 
that  chair  in  the  open  street  and,  as  if  she  were  doing  the 
most  natural  thing  in  the  world,  she  begins  ringing  that 
dinner  bell.  Naturally  people  stop  and  stare  and  draw 
nearer.  Ernestine  tells  me  that  Battersea  has  got  so  used 
now  to  the  ding-dong  and  to  associating  it  with  "  our  meet- 
ings," that  as  far  oif  as  they  hear  it  the  inhabitants  say, 
"  It's  the  Suffragettes,  come  along."  And  from  one  street 
and  another  the  people  emerge  laughing  and  running.  Of 
course,  as  soon  as  there  is  a  little  crowd  that  attracts  some 
more,  and  so  the  snowball  grows.  •  •  •  Last  night  she 
was  wonderful.  .  .  .  When  she  wound  up  "The  mo- 
tion is  carried ;  the  meeting  is  over ! "  and  climbed  down 
off  her  perch,  the  mob  cheered  and  pressed  round  her  so 
close  that  I  had  to  give  up  trying  to  join  her.  I  extricated 
myself  and  crossed  the  street.  She  is  so  little  that  unless 
she  is  on  a  chair  she  is  swallowed  up.  For  a  long  time 
I  could  not  see  her.  I  did  not  know  whether  she  was 
taking  the  names  and  addresses  of  the  people  who  wanted 
to  join  the  Union,  or  whether  she  had  slipped  away  and 
gone  home,  till  I  saw  practically  the  whole  crowd  moving 
off  with  her  up  the  street.  I  followed  for  some  distance 
on  the  off  side.  She  went  calmly  on  her  way  —  a  tiny 
figure  in  a  long  grey  coat  between  two  "  helpers,"  a  Lan- 
cashire cotton  spinner  and  the  Cockney  working-woman  and 
that  immense  tail  of  boys  and  men  (and  a  few  women) 
all  following  after  —  quite  quiet  and  well-behaved  —  just 
following  because  it  didn't  occur  to  them  to  do  anything 
else.  In  a  way  she  was  still  exercising  her  hold  over  her 
meeting.  I  saw  presently  there  was  one  person  in  front 
of  her;  a  great  big  fellow  who  looked  like  a  carter.  He 
was  carrying  home  the  chair.  .  .  .  Oh,  if  you  could 
only  see  her!  Trudging  along,  apparently  quite  oblivious 
of  her  quaint  following,  dinner  bell  in  one  hand,  leather 
case  piled  high  with  leaflets  on  the  other  arm.  Some  of 
the  leafllets  sliding  off  and  tumbling  onto  the  pavement. 
Then  dozens  of  hands  helped  her  to  recover  her  property.  .  .  • 



A  Protest  Meeting  in  the  Lobby  of  the  House  of 
Commons.  Eleven  Women  go  to  Prison.  What 
IT  IS  Like  in  Holloway  Gaol. 

On  October  3d,  1906,  Parliament  re-assembled 
for  the  Autumn  session.  A  large  number  of  our 
women  made  their  way  to  the  House  of  Commons 
on  that  day,  but  the  government  had  again  given 
orders  that  only  twenty  women  at  a  time  were  to  be 
allowed  in  the  Lobby.  All  women  of  the  working 
class  were  rigorously  excluded.  My  mother  and 
Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  were  among  those  who  suc- 
ceeded in  gaining  an  entrance.  They  at  once  sent  in 
for  the  Chief  Liberal  Whip  and  requested  him  to 
ask  the  Prime  Minister,  on  their  behalf,  whether  he 
proposed  to  do  anything  to  enfranchise  the  women 
of  the  country  during  the  session,  either  by  including 
the  registration  of  qualified  women  ia  the  provisions 
of  the  Plural  Voting  Bill  then  before  the  House,  or 
by  any  other  means.  The  Liberal  Whip  soon  re- 
turned with  a  refusal  from  the  Government  to  hold 
out  the  very  faintest  hope  that  the  vote  would  be 
given  women  at  any  time  during  their  term  of 

On  hearing  this,  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  Mrs.  Pethick 
Lawrence  returned  to  their  comrades  and  consulted 



with  them.  The  women  had  received  a  direct  rebuff, 
and  they  felt  that  they  must  now  act  in  such  a  way 
as  to  prove  that  the  Suffragettes  would  no  longer 
quietly  submit  to  this  perpetual  ignoring  of  their 
claims.  They  therefore  decided  to  hold  a  meeting 
of  protest,  not  outside  in  the  street,  but  just  there, 
in  the  Lobby  of  the  House  of  Commons  —  of  all 
places  the  most  effective  one  for  women  to  choose 
for  a  meeting,  because  the  nearest  within  their  reach 
to  that  legislative  Chamber  which  had  so  frequently 
refused  to  grant  them  the  franchise.  Once  made, 
the  resolution  was  acted  upon  without  delay.  Mary 
Gawthorpe  mounted  one  of  the  settees  close  to  the 
statue  of  Sir  Stafford  Northcote  and  began  to  ad- 
dress the  crowd  of  visitors  who  were  waiting  to  in- 
terview various  Members  of  Parliament.  The  other 
women  closed  up  around  her,  but  in  the  twinkling  of 
an  eye  dozens  of  policemen  sprang  forward,  tore 
the  tiny  creature  from  her  post  and  swiftly  rushed 
her  out  of  the  Lobby.  Instantly  Mrs.  Despard,  a 
sister  of  General  French,  a  tall,  ascetic-looking,  grey- 
haired  figure,  stepped  into  the  breach;  but  she  also 
was  roughly  dragged  away.  Then  followed  Mrs. 
Cobden  Sanderson,  a  daughter  of  Richard  Cobden, 
and  many  others,  but  each  in  her  turn  was  thrust  out- 
side and  the  order  was  given  to  clear  the  Lobby. 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  was  thrown  to  the  ground  in  the 
outer  entrance  hall  and  many  of  the  women,  thinking 
that  she  was  seriously  hurt,  closed  round  her  refusing 
to  leave  her  side.  Crowds  were  now  collecting  in 
the  roadway  and  the  women  who  had  been  flung 
out  of  the  House  attempted  to  address  them  but 
were  hurled  away. 

Annie  Kenney,  who  had  scarcely  recovered  from 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  1906     103 

the  effects  of  her  last  imprisonment,  had  been  told 
by  the  Committee  that  she  must  not  take  any  part  in 
the  demonstration  for  fear  that  she  should  be  again 
arrested.  She  agreed  to  run  no  risks,  but  she  could 
not  keep  entirely  away  from  the  scene  of  action  and, 
standing  on  the  other  side  of  the  road,  was  now 
watching  to  see  what  might  befall  her  comrades.  In 
the  midst  of  the  struggle  she  noticed  that  Mrs. 
Pethick  Lawrence  was  being  roughly  handled,  and 
impulsively  ran  forward  to  ask  her  if  she  were  hurt. 
Being  already  well  known  to  the  police,  she  was  im- 
mediately arrested.  Mrs.  Lawrence  was  greatly 
distressed  and  cried  out,  "  You  shall  not  take  this 
girl;  she  has  done  nothing."  But  the  only  result 
of  her  protest  was  that  she  herself  was  also  taken 
into  custody.  Before  long  seven  women  had  shared 
the  same  fate,  including  Miss  Jrene  Miller,  my  sister 
Adela  Pankhurst,  and  Mrs.  How  Martyn,  B.Sc, 
who  had  recently  become  Honorary  Secretary  of  the 
London  Committee  of  the  Women's  Social  and  Po- 
litical Union.  ^ 

Meanwhile,  some  of  the  poor  women  who  had 
marched  from  the  East  End  and  who  had  been  de- 
nied admission  to  the  Lobby,  were  resting  their  tired 
limbs  on  the  stone  benches  in  the  long  entrance  hall, 
and  after  Mrs.  Cobden  Sanderson  had  made  her 
attempt  to  speak  and  had  been  hustled  away,  she 
seated  herself  quietly  beside  these  women  and  began 
to  talk  with  them.  Shortly  afterwards  a  young  po- 
liceman came  up  and  abruptly  ordered  her  away  and, 

1  The  Secretarial  duties  had  now  increased  so  greatly  that  no 
one  person  could  cope  with  them  without  giving  the  whole  of 
her  time  to  the  work.  As  I  was  unable  to  do  this,  I  had  been 
obliged  to  resign. 


as  she  did  not  go  he  seized  her  and  dragged  her  to 
the  police  station. 

The  next  morning  the  women  were  brought  up  at 
Rochester  Row  Police  Court  before  Mr.  Horace 
Smith.  Mrs.  Cobden  Sanderson's  sisters,  Mrs.  Cob- 
den  Unwin  and  Mrs.  Cobden  Sickert  and  several 
friends  and  relatives  of  the  other  women,  had  come 
early  in  order  that  they  might  be  sure  of  obtaining 
a  seat  In  Court.  Whilst  another  trial  was  in  prog- 
ress the  Usher  had  asked  them  to  leave  the  Court  for 
the  present  in  order  to  make  room  for  other  people, 
saying,  "  You  shall  be  allowed  in  again  when  your 
own  case  comes  on."  They  at  once  acceded  to  his 
request,  but  were  prevented  from  returning  and  were 
subsequently  told  that  no  women  would  be  allowed 
to  enter.  Some  twenty  or  thirty  of  us  had  by  this 
time  congregated  in  the  large  entrance  hall,  but, 
though  men  were  constantly  passing  in  and  out  of 
the  Court  where  the  trial  was  taking  place,  admit- 
tance was  denied  to  us.  Many  of  us  wished  to  tes- 
tify as  witnesses,  but  we  were  told  that  we  could  not 
go  into  the  Court,  and  were  taken  into  a  side  room, 
where  an  attempt  was  made  to  lock  us  in.  To  pre- 
vent this,  we  insisted  upon  standing  in  the  doorway. 

In  the  meantime  the  case  against  the  ten  Suffra- 
gists was  being  hurried  through.  They  were  all  put 
into  the  dock  together.  After  the  police  evidence 
had  been  heard  against  them,  Mrs.  Cobden  Sander- 
son asked  leave  to  make  a  statement.  You  must 
not  picture  her  to  yourself  as  being  either  big-boned, 
plain-looking  and  aggressive  and  wearing  "  mannish  " 
clothes,  or  as  emotional  and  overstrung.  On  the 
contrary,  she  is  just  what  Reynolds,  Hoppner,  Sir 
Henry  Raeburn,  or  Romney  with  his  softest  and  ten- 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  1906     105 

derest  touch,  would  have  loved  to  paint.  Not  very 
tall,  she  is  comfortably  and  firmly  knit  and  as  she 
walks  she  puts  her  foot  down  quite  firmly,  in  a  dig- 
nified and  stately  way.  She  is  always  dressed  in  low- 
toned  greys  and  lilacs,  and  her  clothes  are  gracefully 
and  delicately  wrought,  with  all  sorts  of  tiny  tuckings 
and  finishings  which  give  a  suggestion  of  daintiest 
detail  without  any  loss  of  simplicity  or  breadth.  She 
has  a  shower  of  hair  like  spun  silver  that  crinkles  itself 
in  the  most  original  and  charming  way,  and  which  she 
binds  around  with  broad  ribbon,  lest  its  loose  falling 
strands  should  mar  the  neatness  of  her  aspect.  Her 
cheeks  are  tinged  with  the  soft  dull  rose  that  one 
sees  in  pastel,  and  her  eyes  have  the  most  genial  and 
benevolent  glance. 

Speaking  now  to  the  Magistrate,  she  said,  quite 
quietly,  that  she  had  gone  to  the  House  of  Com- 
mons to  demand  the  vote;  that  so  long  as  women 
were  deprived  of  citizen  rights  and  had,  there- 
fore, no  constitutional  means  of  obtaining  redress, 
they  had  a  right  to  be  heard  in  the  House  of 
Commons  itself.  She  wished  to  take  the  whole  re- 
sponsibility of  the  demonstration  upon  her  own 
shoulders.  "  If  anyone  is  guilty,"  she  said,  "  it  is 
I.  I  was  arrested  as  one  of  the  ringleaders,  and 
being  the  eldest  of  these,  I  was  most  responsible." 
Then  she  quoted  in  her  defence  the  words  of  Mr. 
John  Burns,  who  was  now  the  President  of  the  Local 
Government  Board  and  who,  in  circumstances  simi- 
lar to  those  in  which  she  was  placed,  had  said,  "  I 
am  a  rebel  because  I  am  an  outlaw.  I  am  a  law- 
breaker because  I  desire  to  be  a  law-maker." 

At  this  point  the  Magistrate,  who  had  repeatedly 
interrupted  her,  refused  to  hear  any  more,  or  to  al- 


low  any  statement  at  all  from  the  other  prisoners, 
although  in  doing  so,  he  was  disregarding  every  legal 
precedent.  He  said  that  each  of  the  ten  defendants 
must  enter  into  her  own  recognisances  to  keep  the 
peace  for  six  months  and  must  find  a  surety  for  her 
good  behaviour  in  £io,  and  that  if  she  failed  to  do 
this,  she  must  go  to  prison  for  two  months  in  the 
second  division.  The  women  at  once  protested 
against  this  mockery  of  a  trial,  and  raising  a  banner 
bearing  the  words  **  Women  should  vote  for  the  laws 
they  obey  and  the  taxes  they  pay  "  declared  that  they 
would  not  leave  the  dock  until  they  had  been  allowed 
the  right  to  which  all  prisoners  were  entitled,  namely 
that  of  making  a  statement  in  their  own  defence. 
But  Mr.  Horace  Smith  cared  nothing  for  the  justice 
of  what  they  said;  he  merely  called  the  police  and  the 
women  were  forcibly  removed. 

The  Police  Court  authorities  now  announced  to 
those  of  us  who  were  waiting  in  the  witness  room 
that  the  case  was  over  and  that  our  friends  had  been 
taken  to  Holloway.  I  can  scarcely  express  our  feel- 
ings of  indignation.  It  seemed,  indeed,  terrible  that 
ten  upright,  earnest  women  should  have  been  thus 
hustled  off  to  prison,  without  a  word  from  their 
friends,  after  a  trial  lasting  less  than  half  an  hour. 

Some  protesting,  others  filled  with  silent  conster- 
nation, the  women  turned  to  go,  but  I,  myself,  felt 
that  I  could  not  leave  without  a  single  word  of  re- 
buke to  those  who  had  conducted  the  proceedings 
against  us  so  shamefully.  I  therefore  returned  to 
the  door  of  the  inner  court  and  asked  to  be  admitted. 
"  It  is  all  over,"  said  the  doorkeepers,  "  there  is 
nothing  to  interest  you  now;  "  but  I  walked  quickly 
past  them  and  entered  the  court.     It  was  quite  a 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  1906     107 

small  room ;  one  could  easily  make  oneself  heard  with- 
out raising  one's  voice,  and  as  shortly  as  I  could,  I 
told  the  magistrate  how  women  had  been  refused 
admittance  whilst  the  trial  was  in  progress,  and  how 
some  who  had  actually  taken  their  seats  had  been 
tricked  into  leaving.  I  pointed  out  to  him  that  as  it 
was  customary  to  allow  the  general  public,  and  es- 
pecially friends  of  the  prisoners,  to  be  present  in 
court,  it  was  grossly  unfair  to  refuse  to  do  so  in  this 
case,  and  likely  to  destroy  confidence  in  the  justice 
of  the  trial.  I  was  explaining  that  even  the  women 
who  had  wished  to  testify  as  voluntary  witnesses  had 
been  kept  out  of  the  court,  when  the  magistrate  in- 
terrupted me  saying,  "  There  is  no  truth  in  any  of 
your  statements.     The  court  was  crowded." 

I  was  then  serzed  by  two  policemen,  dragged  across 
the  outer  lobby  and  flung  into  the  street.  Here  a 
great  mass  of  people  had  assembled  and  I  felt  that 
I  ought  not  to  go  away  without  telling  them  some- 
thing of  the  cause  for  which  we  were  fighting  and 
of  the  very  scanty  justice  which  had  been  doled  out 
to  our  women.  I  tried  to  speak  to  them,  though  I 
had  been  rendered  almost  breathless  by  the  violent 
manner  of  my  ejection,  and  only  to  those  who  were 
near  me  could  I  make  myself  heard.  In  a  moment, 
I  hardly  knew  how  or  why,  I  was  again  seized  by  the 
policeman  and  dragged  back  into  the  court  house. 
Soon  afterwards  I  found  myself  in  the  dock  before 
Mr.  Horace  Smith,  and  was  charged  with  causing  an 
obstruction  and  with  the  use  of  violent  and  abusive 
language.  I  protested  against  the  latter  half  of  the 
charge  and  it  was  immediately  withdrawn.  At 
greater  length  than  on  the  first  occasion,  I  was  then 
able  to  describe  all  that  had  happened  within  the 


precincts  of  the  court.  Many  of  our  friends  and 
members,  on  hearing  that  all  was  not  over,  had  re- 
turned and  from  amongst  them  I  called  as  witnesses 
to  the  truth  of  my  statement,  Mrs.  Cobden  Unwln, 
Mrs.  Cobden  Sickert  and  a  number  of  other  ladies, 
but  their  testimony  was  ignored  and  I  was  found 
guilty  and  sentenced  either  to  pay  a  fine  of  £i  or 
to  undergo  fourteen  days'  imprisonment  in  the  third 
and  lowest  class.  Of  course  I  chose  the  latter  al- 
ternative, and  was  taken  to  join  my  comrades  in  the 
cells.  But  now,  instead  of  being  ordered  away  as 
before,  our  friends  were  allowed  to  come  up  and 
bring  us  lunch  and  talk  to  us  for  a  little  while. 

The  police  court  cells  were  small  and  dark,  fur- 
nished only  with  a  wooden  seat  fastened  to  the  wall 
and  a  sanitary  convenience.  The  walls  were  white- 
washed, the  floors  were  of  stone,  and  each  of  the 
cells  opened  into  a  long  stone  passage,  whose  barred 
windows  overlooked  the  courtyard,  beyond  which 
we  could  see  through  gaps  in  the  prison  buildings, 
the  crowds  of  people  who  were  assembled  in  the 
street  beyond.  We  were  not  shut  up  in  the  cells 
but  allowed  to  move  about  from  one  to  another,  or 
to  stand  in  the  passage,  at  the  end  of  which  were 
several  stone  steps  leading  up  to  a  strongly-fastened 
iron  gate.  This  passage,  though  dimly  lit,  was 
lighter  than  the  cells  and  seemed  to  us  less  insanitary, 
and  so  as  we  had  many  hours  to  wait  before  we 
were  to  be  taken  to  HoUoway  in  the  prison  van, 
"  Black  Maria,"  we  seated  ourselves  together  on  the 
stone  steps.  Someone  had  brought  with  her  a  vol- 
ume of  Browning,  and  Mrs.  Lawrence  read  aloud 
to  us  from  those  of  the  poems  which  seemed  to  apply 
to  our  own  case. 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  igo6     109 

AH  too  soon  the  order  came  for  us  to  go  down  to 
the  van  and,  one  by  one,  as  our  names  were  called, 
we  walked  across  the  yard,  climbed  the  steps  and 
took  our  places  separately  in  one  of  the  twelve  little 
compartments  which  it  contained.  I  was  one  of 
the  two  last  to  enter,  and  I  had,  therefore,  a  little 
more  of  the  fresh  air  than  most  of  the  others,  and 
from  the  small  barred  window  of  my  compartment, 
I  could  see  the  burly  form  of  the  guarding  policeman 
who  stood  in  the  passageway  between  us  and,  when 
he  moved  from  time  to  time,  could  see  past  him  and 
out  the  barred  window  in  the  door  of  the  van  to  the 
streets  through  which  we  drove. 

How  long  the  way  seemed  to  HoUoway,  as  the 
springless  van  rattled  over  the  stones  and  constantly 
bumped  us  against  the  narrow  wooden  pens  in  which 
we  sat!  As  it  passed  down  the  poor  streets,  the 
people  cheered  —  they  always  cheer  the  prison  van. 
It  was  evening  when  we  arrived  at  our  destination, 
and  the  darkness  was  closing  in.  As  we  passed  in 
single  file  through  the  great  gates,  we  found  our- 
selves at  the  end  of  a  long  corridor  with  cubicles  on 
either  side.  A  woman  officer  in  hoUand  dress,  with 
a  dark  blue  bonnet,  with  hanging  strings  on  her  head 
and  with  a  bundle  of  keys  and  chains  jangling  at  her 
waist,  called  out  our  names  and  the  length  of  our 
sentences  and  locked  each  of  us  separately  into  one 
of  the  cubicles,  which  were  about  four  feet  square 
and  quite  dark.  In  the  door  of  each  cubicle  was  a 
little  round  glass  spy-hole,  which  might  be  closed  by 
a  metal  flap  on  the  outside.  Mine  had  been  left 
open  by  mistake,  and  through  it  I  could  see  a  little 
of  what  was  going  on  outside. 

Once  we  had  been  locked  away,  the  wardress  came 


from  door  to  door,  taking  down  further  particulars 
as  to  the  profession,  religion,  and  so  on,  of  each 
prisoner  —  there  were  many  beside  ourselves  —  and 
asking  if  we  and  they  could  read  and  write  and  sew. 
Meanwhile  the  prisoners  called  to  each  other  over 
the  tops  of  the  cubicles  in  loud,  high-pitched  voices. 
Every  now  and  then  the  officer  protested,  but  still 
the  noise  continued.  Soon  another  van  load  of 
prisoners  arrived  and  the  cubicles  being  filled,  sev- 
eral women  together  were  put  into  the  same  compart- 
ment,—  sometimes  as  many  as  five  in  one  of  those 
tiny  places!  It  was  very  cold,  and  the  stone  floor 
made  one's  feet  colder  still,  yet  for  a  long  time  — 
until  I  was  so  tired  that  I  could  no  longer  stand  — 
I  was  afraid  to  sit  down  because,  in  the  darkness, 
one  could  not  see  whether,  as  one  feared,  everything 
might  be  covered  with  vermin. 

After  waiting  a  long  time,  the  prisoners  were  sent 
to  see  the  doctor,  and  we  Suffragists  stood  waiting  in 
a  line  together.  The  wardress  passed  constantly  up 
and  down  our  ranks  saying,  "  AH  of  you  unfasten 
your  chests."  When  at  last  we  got  into  the  doctor's 
room,  he  either  asked  us  no  questions,  or  said  in  a 
mechanical  way,  "Are  you  all  right?"  then  he 
touched  us  quickly  with  his  stethoscope  and  we  passed 
back  to  our  cubicles. 

After  another  long  wait  we  were  sent  to  change 
our  clothes.  In  a  large  room,  lined  with  shelves, 
with  two  or  three  wardresses  hovering  about,  and 
one  seated  at  a  table,  we  were  told  to  undress,  three 
or  four  at  a  time,  and  given  a  short  cotton  chemise 
to  put  on  after  we  had  removed  our  own  clothes. 
Then  we  were  ordered  to  hand  over  our  clothes, 
hats,   dresses,  boots   and  all  together,   which  were 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  igo6     iii 

roughly  tied  up  In  bundles  and  placed  upon  the 
shelves.  Then,  barefooted,  and  wearing  only  the 
chemise,  we  were  made  to  march  across  to  the  officer 
at  the  table.  The  officer  now  told  us  to  deliver  to 
her  our  money,  jewellery,  hair  pins  and  hair  combs. 
She  gave  us  back  the  hair  pins  and  kept  everything 
else,  taking  down  particulars  of  these  and  entering 
them  in  a  book.  At  the  same  time  she  again  asked 
us  our  names,  ages,  and  the  other  particulars  which 
we  had  now  given  so  often.  After  this  we  were 
searched;  the  officer  first  telling  us  to  put  up  our 
arms,  and  then  feeling  us  all  over  and  examining 
our  hair  to  see  that  we  had  nothing  concealed  about 
us.  A  wardress  then  led  us  through  a  doorway  into 
the  dimly  lit  bath  room. 

The  baths  were  separated  from  each  other  by  par- 
titions, and  from  the  rest  of  the  room  by  a  half  door 
which  had  no  fastening  and  over  which  the  wardress 
could  look.  The  baths  were  of  black  iron,  covered 
with  an  old  and  very  dingy  coat  of  white  paint, 
which  had  worn  off  in  patches  and  the  woodwork 
which  enclosed  them  was  stained  and  worn.  I 
shrank  from  entering  the  bath,  but  I  was  shivering 
with  cold,  and  though  I  feared  it  was  not  clean,  there 
was  something  comforting  about  the  feel  of  the  warm 
water.  Presently  the  wardress  hung  some  towels 
and  underclothing  over  the  top  of  the  wooden  door, 
and  told  me  to  dress  as  quickly  as  I  could.  I  has- 
tened to  obey  her,  and  found  that  the  clothes,  which 
were  badly  sewn  and  badly  cut,  were  of  coarse  calico 
and  harsh  woollen  stuff,  and  that  there  were  innu- 
merable strings  to  fasten  around  one's  waist.  A 
strange-looking  pair  of  corsets  was  supplied  to  each 
of  us,  but  these  we  were  not  obliged  to  wear  unless 


we  wished.  The  stockings  were  of  harsh  thick  wool, 
and  had  been  badly  darned.  They  were  black  with 
red  stripes  going  around  the  legs,  and  as  they  were 
very  wide,  and  there  were  no  garters  or  suspenders 
to  keep  them  up,  they  were  constantly  slipping  down 
and  wrinkling  around  one's  ankles. 

On  opening  my  door  I  found  that  outside  all  was 
hurry  and  confusion.  In  the  dim  light  the  women 
were  scrambling  for  the  dresses,  which  were  lying  in 
big  heaps  on  the  floor.  The  skirts  of  these  dresses, 
like  the  petticoats  —  of  which  there  were  three  — 
were  of  the  same  width  at  both  top  and  bottom  and 
they  were  gathered  into  wide  bands  which,  though 
fastened  with  tapes  were  not  made  to  draw  up,  and 
had  to  be  overlapped  in  the  most  clumsy  fashion  in 
order  to  make  them  fit  any  but  the  very  stoutest 
women.  The  bodices  were  so  strangely  cut  that  even 
when  worn  by  very  thin  people  they  seemed  bound 
to  gape  in  front,,  especially  as  they  were  fastened 
with  only  one  button  at  the  neck.  My  bodice,  the 
only  one  I  could  manage  to  get  hold  of,  had  several 
large  rents,  which  had  been  roughly  cobbled  together 
with  black  cotton.^  Every  article  of  clothing  was 
conspicuously  stamped  with  the  broad  arrow,  which 
was  painted  black  on  light  garments,  and  white  on 
those  which  were  dark. 

I  had  scarcely  fastened  my  dress  when  somebody 
called  out  to  us  all:  "  Look  sharp  and  put  on  your 
shoes."  These  we  had  to  take  for  ourselves  from 
where  they  were  bundled  together  on  a  wooden  rack. 
None  of  them  seemed  to  be  in  pairs  and  they  were 
heavy  and  clumsy,  with  leather  laces  that,  when  one 

1  Some  days  afterwards  it  was  condemned  and  I  had  a  some- 
what better  one  given  to  me. 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  1906     113 

attempted  to  tie  them,  broke  easily  in  the  hand. 
Lastly,  white  cotton  caps  fastened  under  the  chin 
with  strings  and  stamped  in  black  with  the  broad 
arrow,  and  the  blue  and  white  check  aprons  and  hand- 
kerchiefs, both  of  which  looked  like  dusters,^  were 
given  to  us  and  we  were  led  off  on  a  long  journey 
to  the  cells. 

It  seemed  a  sort  of  skeleton  building  that  we  were 
taken  through  —  the  strangest  place  in  which  I  had 
ever  been.  In  every  great  oblong  ward  or  block 
through  which  we  passed,  though  there  were  many 
stories,  one  could  see  right  down  to  the  basement 
and  up  to  the  lofty  roof.  The  stone  floors  of  the 
corridors  lined  the  walls  all  the  way  round,  jutting 
out  at  the  junctions  of  the  stories  like  shelves  some 
nine  or  ten  feet  apart,  being  protected  on  the  outer 
edge  by  an  iron  wire  trellis  work  four  or  five  feet  high, 
and  having  on  the  wall  side  rows  and  rows  and  rows 
of  numbered  doors  studded  with  nails.  The  various 
stories  were  connected  by  flights  of  iron  steps  bor- 
dered by  iron  trellis  work,  and  reaching  in  slanting 
lines  from  corridor  to  corridor.  All  the  walls  and 
doors  were  painted  stone  colour  and  all  the  iron 
work  was  painted  black. 

We  clattered  up  those  seemingly  endless  flights  and 
shuffled  along  those  mazy  corridors  in  our  heavy 
shoes  and  at  last  stopped  at  a  small  office,  rather 
like  one  of  the  pay  desks  which  one  sees  in  drapers' 
shops,  where  our  names  and  the  length  of  our  sen- 
tences and  all  the  various  other  particulars  were 
verified  once  more,  and  the  sheets  for  the  bed,  a 
Bible  and  a  number  of  other  little  books  with  black 

1  We  afterwards  learnt  that  one  clean  handkerchief  was  sup- 
plied each  week.    We  had  no  pockets  to  keep  them  in, 


shiny  bindings,  were  given  out  to  us.  Annie  Kenney 
had  told  us  that  a  tooth  brush  would  be  given  to  us 
if  we  asked  for  it,  but  that  if  we  neglected  to  do  this, 
nothing  would  be  said  about  it,  and  we  might  not  be 
allowed  to  have  it  later.  As  we  waited  in  line  I 
noticed  that  the  other  women  were  eating  chunks  of 
brown  bread, ^  but,  though  by  this  time  I  was  very 
hungry,  none  had  been  given  to  me.  I  asked  Mrs. 
Baldock,  who  stood  next  to  me,  where  she  had  got 
her  bread,  and  she  told  me  that  one  of  the  ward- 
resses had  given  it  to  her,  and  seeing  that  I  had  been 
overlooked,  she  broke  off  half  her  own  small  loaf 
and  gave  it  to  me.  These  were  the  last  words  I 
was  to  have  with  my  fellow  prisoners,  for,  whilst 
they  had  been  put  into  the  second  class,  I  had  been 
sentenced  to  the  third,  and  even  in  chapel  they  were 
hidden  from  me  by  a  buttress. 

After  another  long  march  through  the  prison  cor- 
ridors,  a  wardress,  with  her  jangling  keys,  unlocked  a 
number  of  heavy  iron  doors  and  having  ordered  each 
of  us  to  enter  one  of  them  separately,  shut  them 
behind  us  again  with  a  loud  bang.  I  now  found 
myself  in  a  small  whitewashed  cell  twelve  or  thirteen 
feet  long  by  seven  feet  wide,  and  about  nine  feet 
high.  The  floor  was  of  stone.  The  window, 
which  was  high  up  near  the  ceiling  had  many  little 
panes,  enclosed  in  a  heavy  iron  frame-work  and 
guarded  by  strong  iron  bars  outside.  The  iron  door 
was  studded  with  nails  and  its  round  eye-like  spy- 
hole was  now  covered  on  the  outside.  On  the  left- 
hand  side  of  the  door  was  a  small  recess,  some  four 

1  Each  prisoner,  on  the  day  of  entering  is  according  to  prison 
rules  to  be  given  a  supper  consisting  of  six  ounces  of  meat  and 
one  pint  of  cocoa. 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  igo6     115 

feet  from  the  ground,  in  which,  behind  a  pane  of 
thick  opaque  glass  was  a  flickering  gas  jet  which  cast  a 
dim  light  into  the  cell.  Under  this"  recess  was  a 
small  wooden  shelf,  somewhere  about  fourteen  or 
fifteen  inches  square,  which  I  afterwards  learnt  was 
called  the  table,  and  opposite  this  was  a  wooden 
stool.  By  the  window,  set  into  the  corner  of  the 
room,  was  another  shelf  about  three  feet  six  inches 
high,  with  one  about  six  inches  from  the  floor  im- 
mediately under  it.  The  lower  shelf  was  for  the 
mattress  and  bedding.  The  upper  one  held  a 
wooden  spoon,  a  pint  pot  of  block  tin  stamped  with 
the  broad  arrow,  a  wooden  saltcellar,  a  small  piece 
of  hard  yellow  soap,  a  red  card  case  containing  some 
prison  rules  and  a  card  on  which  was  printed  a  morn- 
ing and  an  evening  prayer,  a  small  oval  hair  brush 
without  a  handle,  like  a  good-sized  nail  brush,  and 
a  comb  between  three  and  four  inches  long.  On 
this  shelf  I  was  afterwards  told  to  place  my  books 
and  tooth  brush.  These  things  had  all  to  be  kept 
in  certain  never  varying  positions.  On  the  floor, 
leaning  against  the  wall  under  the  window,  were  ar- 
ranged a  number  of  utensils  made  of  block  tin,  these 
being  a  plate,  a  small  water  can  holding  about  three 
pints  of  water,  a  tiny  shallow  wash-basin  less  than  a 
foot  in  diameter,  and  a  small  slop-pail  with  a  lid. 
Two  little  round  brushes,  in  shape  rather  like  those 
we  use  for  brushing  clothes  with,  which  were  in- 
tended for  sweeping  the  floor,  a  little  tin  dust  pan, 
and  a  piece  of  bath-brick  wrapped  in  some  rags  for 
cleaning  the  tins.  These  also  were  all  placed  in  an 
order  which,  as  I  soon  learnt,  was  never  to  be 
changed.  A  small  towel  and  a  smaller  table  cloth, 
both  of  them  resembling  dish  cloths,  hung  on  a  nail. 


Propped  against  the  right-hand  wall  was  the  plank 
bed,  with  the  pillow  balanced  on  top.  The  bed  is, 
I  think,  two  feet  six  inches  in  width,  and  when  in 
position  for  sleeping  is  raised  up  by  two  cross  pieces 
to  about  two  inches  from  the  floor. 

As  I  was  examining  in  wonder  all  these  various 
things,  a  wardress  opened  the  door  and  said  sharply, 
"What,  have  you  not  made  your  bed  yet?  The 
light  will  be  put  out  soon.  You  had  better  make 
haste!"  "Please  can  I  have  a  nightdress?"^  I 
asked,  but  she  answered  "  No."  Then  the  iron  door 
banged  and  I  was  left  alone  for  the  night. 

After  eating  my  little  piece  of  bread,  I  did  as  I 
was  told  and  tried  to  sleep.  But  sleep  is  one  of  the 
hardest  things  to  obtain  in  Holloway.  The  bed  is 
so  hard,  the  blankets  and  sheets  are  scarcely  wide 
enough  to  cover  one,  and  the  pillow,  filled  with  a 
kind  of  herb,  seems  as  if  it  were  made  of  stone. 
The  window  is  not  made  to  open.  The  system  of 
ventilation  is  exceedingly  bad,  and  though  one  is 
usually  cold  at  night  one  always  suffers  terribly  from 
the  want  of  air. 

I  learnt  next  day  that  we  were  as  yet  only  in  the 
admission  cells,  and  as  everyone  was  too  busy  to  set 
us  to  work  we  had  nothing  to  do  but  examine  our 
books.  These  I  found,  in  addition  to  the  prayer 
book,  consisted  of  a  Bible,  a  hymn  book,  a  tract 
called  "  The  Narrow  Way,"  which  was  intended  to 
show  how  easy  it  is  to  fall  into  temptation,  and  a 
little  book  on  health  and  cleanliness,  which  described 
the  way  in  which  human  beings  afe  gradually  poi- 

1  Since  this  time  night  dresses  have  been  introduced  into  Hol- 
loway, and  are  given  to  Suffragettes,  and,  let  us  hope,  to  other 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  1906     117 

soned  when  they  were  not  able  to  get  enough  fresh 

The  following  day  we  were  removed  to  the  cells 
which  we  were  to  occupy  during  the  remainder  of 
our  imprisonment.  Many  of  the  ordinary  cells  are 
exactly  like  the  reception  cells,  but  the  cell  into  which 
I  was  now  put  was  smaller,  but  better  lit  than  the 
reception  cell,  for  it  had  a  larger  window  and  there 
was  a  small  electric  light  bulb  attached  to  the  wall 
instead  of  the  recessed  gas  jet.  Hanging  on  a  nail 
in  the  wall  was  a  large  round  badge  made  of  yellow 
cloth  bearing  the  number  of  the  cell  and  the  letter 
and  the  number  of  its  block  in  the  prison.  I  was 
told  to  attach  this  badge  to  a  button  on  my  bodice, 
and  henceforth,  like  the  other  prisoners,  I  was  called 
by  the  number  of  my  cell,  which  happened  to  be 

Suppose  yourself  to  be  one  of  the  Third  Class 
prisoners.  Like  them  you  will  follow  the  same  rou- 
tine. Each  morning  whilst  it  is  still  quite  dark  you 
will  be  awakened  by  the  tramp  of  heavy  feet  and 
the  ringing  of  bells;  then  the  light  is  turned  on. 
You  wash  in  the  tiny  basin  and  dress  hurriedly. 
Soon  you  hear  the  rattle  of  keys  and  the  noise  of 
iron  doors.  The  sound  comes  nearer  and  nearer 
until  it  reaches  your  own  door.  The  wardress  flings 
it  open  and  orders  sharply,  "  Empty  your  slops, 
12 1  "  You  hasten  to  do  so,  and  return  at  the  word 
of  command. 

Then,  just  as  you  have  been  shown,  you  roll  your 
bed.  The  first  sheet  is  folded  in  four,  then  spread 
out  on  the  floor,  and  rolled  up  from  one  end,  tightly, 
like  a  sausage.     The  second  sheet  is  rolled  round  it, 


and  round  this,  one  by  one,  the  blankets  and  quilt. 
You  must  be  careful  to  do  this  very  neatly  or  you 
are  certain  to  be  reprimanded. 

Next  clean  your  tins.  You  have  three  pieces  of 
rag  with  which  to  do  this.  Two  of  them  are 
frayed  scraps  of  brown  serge,  like  your  dress,  and 
the  other  is  a  piece  of  white  calico.  These  rags 
were  probably  not  new  and  fresh  when  you  came 
here,  but  had  been  well  used  by  previous  occupants 
of  the  cell.  Folded  up  in  these  rags  you  will  find 
a  piece  of  bath-brick.  You  have  been  told  to  rub 
this  bath-brick  on  the  stone  floor  until  you  have 
scoured  off  a  quantity  of  its  dust.  Then  you  take 
one  of  the  brown  rags  and  soap  this  on  the  yellow 
cake  which  you  use  for  your  own  face.  Then  with 
the  soapy  rag  you  rub  over  one  of  the  tins,  and  this 
done,  dip  the  rag  into  the  brick-dust  which  is  lying 
on  the  floor  and  rub  it  on  to  the  soapy  tin.  Then 
you  rub  it  again  with  the  second  brown  rag  and 
polish  with  the  white  calico  one  that  remains.  You 
must  be  sure  to  make  all  the  tins  very  bright. 

Presently  the  door  opens  and  shuts  again.  Some- 
one has  left  you  a  pail  of  water;  with  it  you  must 
scrub  the  stool,  bed  and  table,  and  wash  the  shelves. 
Then  scrub  the  floor.  All  this  ought  to  be  done 
before  breakfast,  but  unless  you  are  already  experi- 
enced in  such  matters  it  will  take  you  very  much 

Before  you  have  done  your  task  there  comes  again 
the  jangling  of  keys  and  clanging  of  iron  doors. 
Then,  "Where's  your  pint,  12?"  You  hand  it 
out,  spread  your  little  cloth  and  set  your  plate  ready. 
Your  pint  pot  is  filled  with  gruel  (oatmeal  and  water 
without  any  seasoning),  and  six  ounces  of  bread  are 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  tgo6     119 

thrust  upon  your  plate.  Then  the  door  closes. 
Now  eat  your  breakfast,  and  then,  if  your  cleaning 
is  done,  begin  to  sew.  Perhaps  it  is  a  sheet  you  have 
to  do.  Of  these,  with  hem  top  and  bottom  and 
mid-seam,  the  minimum  quantity  wTiich  you  must 
finish,  as  you  will  learn  from  your  '*  Labour  Card  " 
is  15  per  week. 

At  half  past  eight  it  is  time  for  chapel.  The 
officer  watches  you  take  your  place  in  line  among  the 
other  women.  They  all  wear  numbered  badges  like 
yours,  and  are  dressed  as  you  are.  A  few,  very  few, 
four  or  five  perhaps,  out  of  all  the  hundreds  in  the 
Third  Division,  wear  red  stars  on  caps  and  sleeves. 
This  is  to  show  that  they  are  first  offenders  who 
have  previously  borne  a  good  character  and  have 
someone  to  testify  to  that  fact.  Every  now  and 
then  the  wardress  cries  out  that  someone  is  speaking, 
and  as  you  march  along  there  is  a  running  fire  of 
criticism  and  rebuke.  "  Tie  up  your  cap  string,  27. 
You  look  like  a  cinder-picker.  You  must  learn  to 
dress  decently  here."  "  Hold  up  your  head,  number 
30."  "  Hurry  up,  23."  In  the  chapel  it  is  your 
turn.  "  Don't  look  about  you,  12."  In  comes  the 
clergyman.  He  reads  the  lessons  and  all  sing  and 
pray  together. 

Can  they  be  really  criminals,  all  these  poor,  sad- 
faced  women?  How  soft  their  hearts  are  I  How 
easily  they  are  moved  I  If  there  is  a  word  in  the 
services  which  touches  the  experience  of  their  lives, 
they  are  in  tears  at  once.  Anything  about  children, 
home,  affection,  a  word  of  pity  for  the  sinner,  or  of 
striving  to  do  better, —  any  of  these  things  they  feel 
deeply.  Singing  and  the  sound  of  the  organ  make 
them  cry.     Many  of  them  are  old,  with  shrunken 


cheeks  and  scant  white  hair.  Few  seem  young.  All 
are  anxious  and  careworn.  They  are  broken  down 
by  poverty,  sorrow  and  overwork.  Think  of  them 
going  back  to  sit,  each  in  her  lonely  cell,  to  brood 
for  hours  on  the  causes  which  brought  her  here, 
wondering  what  is  happening  to  those  she  loves  out- 
side, tortured,  perhaps,  by  the  thought  that  she  is 
needed  there.  How  can  these  women  bear  the  slow- 
going,  lonely  hours?  Now  go  back  to  your  cell 
with  their  faces  in  your  eyes. 

At  twelve  o'clock  comes  dinner.  A  pint  of  oat- 
meal porridge  and  six  ounces  of  bread  three  days  a 
week,  six  ounces  of  suet  pudding  and  six  ounces  of 
bread  two  days  a  week,  and  on  two  other  days  eight 
ounces  of  potatoes  and  six  ounces  of  bread. 

After  dinner  you  will  leave  your  cell  no  more 
that  day,  except  to  fetch  water  between  two  and  three 
o'clock,  unless  it  be  one  of  the  three  days  a  week  on 
which  you  are  sent  to  exercise.  In  that  case,  having 
chosen  one  for  yourself  from  a  bundle  of  drab- 
coloured  capes,  and  having  fastened  your  badge  to  it, 
you  follow  the  other  women  outside.  There,  all 
march  slowly  round  in  single  file  with  a  distance  of 
three  or  four  yards  between  each  prisoner.  Two  of 
the  very  oldest  women,  who  can  only  totter  along,  go 
up  and  down  at  one  side,  passing  and  repassing  each 

If  you  came  into  the  prison  on  Wednesday,  the 
first  day  for  you  to  exercise  will  be  Saturday.  How 
long  it  seems  since  you  were  last  in  the  outside  world, 
since  you  saw  the  sky  and  the  sunshine  and  felt  the 
pure  fresh  air  against  your  cheek!  How  vividly 
everything  strikes  you  now.  Every  detail  stands  out 
in  your  mind  with  never-to-be-forgotten  clearness. 

OCTOBER  TO  NOVEMBER,  1906     121 

Perhaps  it  is  a  showery  Autumn  day.  The  blue  sky 
is  flecked  with  quickly  driving  clouds.  The  sun 
shines  brightly  and  lights  up  the  puddles  on  the 
ground  and  the  raindrops  still  hanging  from  the 
eaves  and  window  ledges.  The  wind  comes  in  little 
playful  gusts.  The  free  pigeons  are  flying  about  in 
happy  confidence.  You  notice  every  variation  in 
their  glossy  plumage.  Some  are  grey  with  purple 
throats,  some  have  black  markings  on  their  wings, 
some  are  a  pale  brown  colour,  some  nearly  white; 
one  is  a  deep  purple,  almost  black,  with  shining  white 
bars  on  his  wings  and  tail.  All  are  varied  —  no 
two  are  alike.  The  gaunt  prison  buildings  surround 
everything,  but  in  all  this  shimmering  brightness,  in 
this  sweet,  free  air,  they  have  lost  for  the  moment 
their  gloomy  terror. 

Now,  your  eye  lights  on  your  fellow  prisoners. 
You  are  brought  back  to  the  dreary  truth  of  prison 
life.  With  measured  tread,  and  dull  listless  step, 
they  shufile  on.  Their  heads  are  bent,  their  eyes 
cast  down.  They  do  not  see  the  sun  and  the  bright- 
ness, the  precious  sky  or  the  hovering  birds.  They 
do  not  even  see  the  ground  at  their  feet,  for  they  pass 
over  sunk  stones,  through  wet  and  mud,  though 
there  be  dry  ground  on  either  side.  The  prison 
system  has  eaten  into  their  hearts.  They  have  lost 
hope,  and  the  sight  of  nature  has  no  power  to  make 
them  glad.  It  may  be  that  when  next  you  walk 
with  them  you  will  feel  as  they  do.  These  gloomy 
overshadowing  walls  and  the  remembrance  of  your 
narrow  cell,  with  its  endless  twilight  and  dreary, 
useless  tasks  may  have  filled  your  mind  and  driven 
away  all  other  thoughts. 

Once  inside,  the  last  break  in  the  day  will  be 


supper  at  five  o'clock  (Irke  breakfast,  six  ounces  of 
bread  and  a  pint  of  gruel),  except  that  just  before 
the  light  goes  out  at  night,  comes  a  noisy  knocking 
at  every  door,  and  the  cry,  "Are  you  all  right?" 
Then  darkness,  a  long,  sleepless  night,  and  the 
awakening  to  another  day  like  yesterday  and  like 


NOVEMBER,  1906,  TO  FEBRUARY,  1907 

Further  Arrests.    The  "  Mud  March." 

Whilst  their  comrades  were  in  Holloway,  the 
W.  S.  P.  U.  members  were  putting  forth  redoubled 
efforts  to  press  forward  the  work  outside.  A  mani- 
festo explaining  the  objects  of  our  movement  and 
calling  upon  the  women  of  the  country  to  stand  by 
those  who  had  gone  to  prison  and  to  fight  with  them 
to  secure  enfranchisement  was  posted  upon  the  walls 
and  circulated  broadcast  as  a  leaflet.  This  appeal 
met  with  a  far  readier  response  than  any  that  had 
yet  been  made.  Amongst  people  of  all  parties,  there 
was  a  growing  feeling  that  the  imprisoned  Suffra- 
gettes should  receive  the  treatment  due  to  political 
offenders.  The  Liberals,  large  numbers  of  whom 
knew  her  personally,  found  an  especial  difficulty  in 
reconciling  themselves  to  the  idea  that  Richard 
Cobden's  daughter  should  be  thrown  into  prison  and 
treated  by  a  Liberal  government  as  though  she  had 
been  a  drunkard  or  a  pickpocket.  Mr.  Keir  Hardie, 
Lord  Robert  Cecil  and  others,  raised  the  matter  in 
the  House  of  Commons,  and  drew  comparisons  be- 
tween our  lot  and  that  of  the  Jameson  raiders,  Mr. 
W.  T.  Stead  and  others  who  had  been  imprisoned 
for  political  reasons.  In  reply  to  this,  Mr.  Glad- 
stone, the  Home  Secretary,  began  by  saying  that  he 



had  no  power  to  take  action.  On  October  28, 
however,  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  left  HoUoway 
owing  to  serious  illness.  On  the  following  day, 
Mrs.  Montefiore  was  also  released  for  the  same  rea- 
son, and  a  day  or  two  afterwards  it  became  known 
that  Mrs.  How  Martyn  and  Mrs.  Baldock  had  been 
removed  to  the  prison  hospital.  Protests  against  the 
treatment  of  the  Suffragettes  daily  became  more  and 
more  insistent,  and  at  last,  on  October  31st,  Mr. 
Herbert  Gladstone  changed  his  mind  and  ordered,  * 
or  as  he  put  it,  "  intimated  his  desire  ''  that  the  Suff- 
rage prisoners  should  be  transferred  to  the  first  class. 
On  the  eighth  day  of  our  imprisonment  my  cell 
door  was  flung  open  suddenly  and  the  Matron  an- 
nounced that  an  order  had  come  from  the  Home 
Office  to  say  that  I  was  to  be  transferred  to  the 
first  class.  I  was  then  hurriedly  bustled  out  of  my 
cell  and  a  few  minutes  afterwards  as,  in  charge  of 
a  wardress,  I  was  staggering  along  the  passage  car- 
rying my  brush  and  comb,  the  sheets  that  I  was  hem- 
ming, and  all  my  bed  linen,  I  met  my  comrades 
going  in  the  same  direction. 

1  Speaking  at  Leicester  on  January  30th,  the  Home  Secre- 
tary, Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone,  was  proceeding  to  extoll  the 
promptitude  and  care  with  which,  he  asserted,  the  Home  Office 
inquired  into  alleged  cases  of  miscarriage  of  justice,  when  he 
was  interrupted  by  cries  of  protest  from  Annie  Kenney  and  a 
band  of  other  Suffragettes.  Whilst  they  were  being  speedily 
ejected,  Mr.  Gladstone  tried  to  curry  favour  with  the  audience 
by  saying  that  he  particularly  regretted  what  had  taken  place 
because  his  action  in  regard  to  the  Suffragettes  had  been  to 
reduce  the  sentences  passed  upon  them  and  to  ameliorate  their 
prison  treatment.  As  we  have  seen  the  change  was  only  made 
in  response  to  an  unmistakable  public  demand,  and  after  Mr. 
Gladstone  had  begun  by  saying  he  had  no  power  to  effect  it. 

NOVEMBER,  '06,  TO  FEBRUARY,  '07     125 

We  were  ushered  into  a  row  of  rather  dark  cells 
adjoining  each  other  in  an  old  part  of  the  prison, 
which  is  chiefly  occupied  by  prisoners  on  remand  who 
have  not  yet  been  tried.  These  women,  we  were 
horrified  to  And,  are  treated  exactly  like  second  class 
prisoners,  except  that  their  dress  is  blue  instead  of 
green,  and  that  some  to  whom  permission  has  been 
given  are  allowed  to  wear  their  own  clothes,  and 
to  have  food  sent  in  to  them  at  their  own  expense. 
We  were  now  offered  the  same  privileges,  but  these 
we  declined.  On  consulting  the  prison  rules,  how- 
ever,  I  found  that  first  class  misdemeanants  are  en- 
titled to  exercise  their  profession  whilst  in  prison, 
if  their  doing  so  does  not  interfere  with  the  ordinary 
prison  regulations.  I  therefore  applied  to  the  Gov- 
ernor to  be  allowed  to  have  pen,  pencils,  ink  and 
paper,  and  after  a  day's  waiting  my  request  was 
granted.  For  me  prison  had  now  lost  the  worst  of 
Its  terrors  because  I  had  congenial  work  to  do. 

We  were  now  able  to  write  and  to  receive  a  letter 
once  a  fortnight,  and  to  have  books  and  one  news- 
paper a  day  sent  in  by  our  friends.  The  food  served 
out  to  us  was  exactly  like  that  of  the  second  class 
except  that  instead  of  oatmeal  gruel,  a.  pint  of  tea 
was  substituted  for  breakfast  and  a  pint  of  cocoa 
for  supper.  As  the  second  class  is  that  into  which 
the  majority  of  the  Suffragettes  have  been  relegated, 
it  is  useful  to  give  the  table  of  dinners  here. 

Monday,  8  oz.  haricot  beans,  i  oz.  fat  bacon,  8 
oz.  potatoes,  6  oz.  bread. 

Tuesday,  i  pt.  soup,  8  oz.  potatoes,  6  oz.  bread. 

Wednesday,  8  oz.  suet  pudding  (exactly  like 
that  served  in  the  third  class),  6  oz.  bread,  8  oz. 


Thursday,  6  oz.  bread,  8  oz.  potatoes,  3  oz.  cooked 
meat  —  a  kind  of  stew. 

Friday,  Soup  i  pt.,  6  oz  bread,  8  oz.  potatoes. 

Saturday,  Suet  pudding  8  oz.,  bread  6  oz.,  pota- 
toes 8  oz. 

Sunday,  bread  6  oz.,  potatoes  8  oz.,  3  oz.  meat 
*'  preserved  by  heat "  i.  e.,  some  kind  of  preserved 
meat  slightly  warmed. 

The  soups  or  meat  for  each  prisoner  was  served 
in  a  cylindrical  quart  tin  into  the  top  of  which,  like 
a  lid,  was  fitted  another  shallow  tin  holding  the  pota- 
toes. One  did  not  clean  these  tins  oneself  as  one  did 
the  other  untensils,  and  probably  because  the  kitchen 
attendants  were  overburdened  with  work,  they  were 
always  exceedingly  dingy  and  dirty-looking.  Every- 
thing was  as  badly  cooked  and  as  uninviting  as  it  could 
be.  The  cocoa,  which  was  quite  unlike  any  cocoa 
that  I  have  ever  tasted,  had  little  pieces  of  meat  and 
fat  floating  about  in  it.  It  was  evidently  made  in 
the  same  vessel  in  which  the  meat  was  cooked.  To 
cut  up  our  meat,  in  addition  to  the  wooden  spoon, 
which  is  common  to  the  second  and  third  classes,  we 
were  now  provided  with  "  a  knife."  This  knife  was 
made  of  tin.  It  was  about  four  inches  in  length  and 
Mrs.  Drummond  later  on  aptly  described  it  as  be- 
ing **  hemmed  "  at  the  edge.     There  was  no  fork. 

On  November  6th  my  sentence  came  to  an  end, 
and  the  newspaper  representatives  were  all  eager  to 
hear  from  me  what  the  inside  of  Holloway  was  like. 
I  was  thus  able  to  make  known  exactly  what  the  con- 
ditions of  imprisonment  had  been  both  before  and 
after  our  transfer  to  the  first  division  and  to  show 
that  even  under  the  new  conditions,  the  treatment  of 
the  Suffragettes  was  very  much  more  rigorous  than 

NOVEMBER,  '06,  TO  FEBRUARY,  '07     127 

that  applied  to  men  political  prisoners  in  this  and 
other  countries. 

Next  day,  November  7th,  Mr.  Keir  Hardie  in- 
troduced a  Women's  Suffrage  Bill  into  the  House  of 
Commons  under  "  the  ten  minutes  rule."  It  had 
only  two  chances  of  passing  into  law;  the  first  that 
the  Government  should  provide  time  for  it  and  the 
second  that  not  one  single  Member  of  Parliament 
should  oppose  it  in  any  of  its  stages.  The  Govern- 
ment refused  to  give  the  time,  and  the  second  chance 
was  destroyed  by  a  Liberal  Member,  Mr.  Julius 

On  November  19th  another  demonstration  was 
therefore  held  outside  the  House  of  Commons  as 
a  result  of  which  Miss  Alice  Milne  of  Manchester 
was  arrested,  and  imprisoned  for  one  week.  Public 
sympathy  was  still  daily  turning  more  and  more  to 
the  side  of  the  Suffragettes  and  when  a  by-election 
became  necessary  at  Huddersfield,  Mr.  Herbert 
Gladstone  decided  to  release  Mrs.  Cobden  Sanderson 
and  her  colleagues,  though  they  had  served  but  half 
their  sentences  and,  on  November  24th  they  were 
set  free  after  one  month's  imprisonment.  They 
were  not  only  welcomed  with  enthusiasm  by  their 
fellow  militant  Suffragettes,  but  a  dinner  was  given 
in  their  honour  by  the  older  non-militant  Suffragists 
at  the  Savoy  Hotel. 

Believing  that  it  was  to  the  Huddersfield  by-elec- 
tion that  they  owed  their  unexpected  freedom,  a 
number  of  the  released  prisoners  at  once  hurried  off 
to  the  constituency  where  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  a 
band  of  other  women  were  strenuously  working 
against  the  Government  and  had  already  become 
the  most  popular  people  in  the  election. 


Though  the  train  by  which  the  prisoners  arrived 
was  more  than  two  hours  late,  they  were  welcomed 
at  the  station  by  cheering  crowds,  and  found  that  a 
great  meeting  of  women,  which  had  been  called  for 
the  due  time  of  their  arrival,  was  still  patiently  wait- 
ing to  hear  them  speak. 

The  three  candidates.  Liberal,  Unionist  and 
Labour  were  now,  because  of  its  extraordinary  pop- 
ularity, all  anxious  to  be  known  as  supporters  of 
Women's  Suffrage  and  they  went  about  wearing  the 
white  Votes  fpr  Women  buttons  of  the  W.  S.  P.  U. 
Mr.  Sherwell,  the  Liberal,  tried  to  sidetrack  the 
Suffragettes'  appeal  to  the  electors  to  vote  against 
him  because  he  was  the  nominee  of  the  Government, 
by  constantly  announcing  that  he  was  in  favour  of 
Women's  Suffrage,  and  that  the  Liberal  Party  was 
the  best  of  all  parties  for  women.  The  following 
handbill  issued  from  his  committee  rooms: 


VOTE  FOR  sherwell:' 

Polling  took  place  on  November  28th,  and  when 
the  votes  were  counted,  it  was  found  that  the  Liberal 
poll  as  recorded  at  the  General  Election  had  been 
reduced  by  540.     The  figures  were: — 

Arthur  Sherwell  (L.) 5,762 

T.  R.  Williams  (Lab.) 5,422 

J.  Foster  Fraser  (U.) 4,844 

Liberal   Majority 340 

NOVEMBER,  '06,  TO  FEBRUARY,  '07     129 

At  the  General  Election  the  figures  had  been: — 

Sir  J.  T.  Woodhouse  (Lib.) 6,302 

T.  R.  Williams  (Lab.) 5,813 

J.   Foster   Fraser    (U.) * 4,39i 


Liberal    Majority 489 

Meanwhile  the  Government  had  been  pushing  on 
with  its  Bill  for  the  abolition  of  plural  voting,  to 
which  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  had 
persistently  claimed  that  a  clause  providing  for  the 
registration  of  qualified  women  voters  should  be 
added.  When  the  Bill  reached  the  Report  stage 
on  November  26th,  Lord  Robert  Cecil  moved  and 
Mr.  Keir  Hardie  seconded  and  Mr.  Balfour  sup- 
ported an  amendment  to  postpone  the  operation  of  the 
Bill  until  after  the  next  General  Election,  unless  in 
the  meantime  the  franchise  had  been  given  to  women 
on  the  same  terms  as  men.  The  object  was,  of 
course,  to  call  attention  to  the  need  of  Votes  for 
Women,  and  this  somewhat  round-about  way  had 
been  adopted  because  it  was  ruled  out  of  order  to 
simply  suggest  that  votes  for  Women  should  be  en- 
acted as  a  part  of  the  Plural  Voting  Bill.  The 
amendment  was  opposed  by  the  Government,  and 
defeated  by  278  votes  to  50. 

Our  Manchester  Members  were  now  anxious  to 
organise  a  protest  on  their  own  account  and  it  was 
agreed  that  they  should  have  their  way.  Accord- 
ingly, on  December  13th,  a  valiant  little  army  of 
some  twenty  or  thirty  North  Country  women  came 
down  to  London  and  proceeded  straight  to  Parlia- 
ment Square,  carrying  a  small  wooden  packing  9ase 
which  they  set  down  in  the  gutter  opposite  the 


stranger's  entrance.  The  box  was  mounted  by  Mrs. 
Jennie  Baines  of  Stockport,  a  fragile  little  woman, 
who  had  begun  her  strenuous  life  as  a  Birmingham 
child  home-worker,  rising  early  in  the  morning  in 
order  to  help  her  mother  to  stitch  hooks  and  eyes 
on  to  cards  before  going  to  school,  snatching  a  few 
moments  for  the  same  task  in  the  dinner  hour  and 
on  returning. home  in  the  evening,  working  far  into 
the  night.  In  her  girlhood  she  had  been  a  Salvation 
Army  ''  Captain."  Later  she  had  married  a  jour- 
neyman bootmaker,  and  though,  in  addition  to  car- 
ing for  her  home  and  her  children,  she  had  been 
forced  to  toil  in  the  factory,  in  order  to  keep  the 
home  together,  she  had  still  managed  to  work  as  a 
Police  Court  Missionary  and  Temperance  and  Social 

Therefore,  it  was  with  the  knowledge  born  of 
much  experience,  that  Mrs.  Baines  now  pleaded  for 
the  enfranchisement  of  her  sex.  Within  a  few 
moments  a  strong  force  of  police  came  hurrying  up 
and  she  was  roughly  dragged  down  and  hustled 
away.  Her  place  was  instantly  taken  by  Mrs. 
Morrissey  of  Manchester,  whilst  the  other  women 
linked  arms  and  pressed  closely  round  to  form  a 
guard,  but  after  a  short  hard  struggle  the  police 
broke  through,  tore  the  speaker  from  the  box,  and 
made  five  arrests.  One  woman  was  thrown  to  the 
ground  and  lay  unconscious,  and  Mrs.  August  Mac- 
Dougal,  an  Australian,^  knelt  on  the  ground  beside 
her,  raised  her  head  and  held  a  cup  of  water  to  her 
lips.  Then  a  heavy  hand  was  laid  upon  Mrs.  Mac- 
DougaPs  shoulder  and  a  rough  voice  ordered  her  to 

lA  cultured  literary  woman,  who,  with  her  husband,  had  re- 
cently published  two  anthologies  of  music. 

NOVEMBER,  '06,  TO  FEBRUARY,  '07     131 

go,  but  she  remained  to  attend  to  the  injured  woman. 
For  this  offence  she  was  arrested,  whilst  Mrs. 
Knight,  the  woman  who  had  been  hurt,  was  removed 
to  Westminster  Hospital. 

Next  day  the  five  women  who  had  been  taken  into 
custody  were  at  Westminster  Police  Court  each  or- 
dered by  Mr.  Horace  Smith  either  to  pay  a  fine  of 
twenty  shillings  or  to  go  to  prison  for  fourteen  days, 
in  the  first  class.  They  all  chose  the  latter  alterna- 
tive and  were  taken  to  the  cells.  Two  days  after- 
wards some  of  our  members  attempted  to  hold  a 
meeting  in  the  Strangers'  Lobby.  As  a  result  of  this 
eleven  of  them  were  sent  off  to  join  their  comrades 
in  gaol  for  fourteen  days. 

Still  the  Government  refused  to  withdraw  their 
hostility  to  votes  for  women.  Parliament  remained 
apathetic,  and  still  the  majority  of  the  general  pub- 
lic were  content  to  allow  things  to  remain  as  they 
were.  Therefore  we  felt  that  yet  another  protest 
must  be  made  before  the  year  1906  should  come  to 
an  end,  and  on  December  20th,  the  eve  of  Parlia- 
ment's rising  for  the  Christmas  holidays,  Mrs.  Drum- 
mond,  who  had  now  settled  in  London,  organised  a 
third  attack  upon  the  House.  Whilst  her  followers 
were  attempting  to  speak  in  the  Lobby,  she  succeeded 
in  entering  the  House  unobserved  and  in  making  her 
way  by  the  back  passages  to  within  a  few  yards  of 
the  sacred  chamber  of  debate  itself.  Here  she  was 
captured  by  the  police,  but  she  resisted  their  efforts 
to  remove  her  with  so  much  spirit  that  she  won  the 
sympathy  and  admiration  of  the  constables;  one  of 
whom  was  heard  to  say,  **  I  wish  the  members  of 
Parliament  would  come  here  and  do  their  own  dirty 
work !  " 


Next  day  as  the  evening-paper  boys  were  eagerly 
crying  the  news  that  another  five  women  were  gone 
to  join  those  already  in  prison  and  that  twenty-one 
Suffragettes  would  now  be  spending  Christmas  there, 
Parliament  rose  for  the  holidays.  As  the  Members 
left  the  House,  comrades  of  the  imprisoned  women 
handed  each  one  an  envelope  inscribed :  — "  What 
a  woman  really  wants  for  a  Christmas  box,"  and 
within  was  a  small  slip  of  paper  bearing  the  words, 
"  A  vote." 

For  the  first  batch  of  Suffragettes  to  be  released 
from  prison  in  January,  a  Christmas  dinner  was  pro- 
vided by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  at  the 
Holborn  Restayrant,  and  for  Mrs.  Drummond  and 
those  of  the  Suffragettes  who  were  set  free  later,  the 
first  of  the  public  welcome  breakfasts,  which  have 
since  become  an  institution,  was  held  at  Anderton's 
Hotel.  The  released  prisoners  were  able  to  tell  us 
that  Christmas  day  in  HoUoway  is,  except  that  one 
goes  twice  to  Chapel,  exactly  like  all  the  other  days 
of  the  year  and  that  the  Christmas  dinner,  of  which 
so  very  much  is  thought  outside,  is  just  the  usual  one 
that  would  naturally  fall  at  any  other  season  to  that 
particular  day  of  the  week.  But  as  Mrs.  Hillier  on 
their  release,  said,  they  went  to  prison  for  "  a  cause 
that  they  held  dear,"  and  so,  as  Mrs.  Martha  Jones 
added,  they  regarded  having  gone  there,  "  not  as  a 
sacrifice,  but  as  an  honour."  What  they  had  seen  in 
HoUoway  had  more  than  ever  convinced  them  of  the 
pressing  need  that  women  should  be  enfranchised. 
"The  stories  that  I  have  heard  in  the  Prison 
hospital,"  said  Mrs.  Baines,  **  have  reached  to  the 
bottom  of  my  heart.  I  have  come  out  with  the  firm 
resolve  to  work  on." 

NOVEMBER,  '06,  TO  FEBRUARY,  '07     133 

So  the  year  1906,  the  first  year  of  the  Union's 
work  in  London  came  to  an  end.  In  October,  the 
step  of  opening  a  permanent  central  office  had  been 
decided  upon  and  a  large  general  office  having  a  small 
private  room  opening  out  of  it  was  taken  in  Clement's 
Inn,  Strand.  It  seemed  a  big  undertaking  at  first, 
but  the  offices  were  indispensable.  The  small  room 
was  considered  chiefly  as  ChristabePs  office,  but  all 
private  business  was  transacted  there,  whilst  the  large 
room  was  used  for  general  clerical  work  and  as  a 
meeting  place.  Weekly  Monday  afternoon  and 
Thursday  evening  At  Homes,  were  held  there  and 
all  those  who  had  joined  the  Union  in  those  early 
days  can  remember  Mrs.  Sparborough  making  tea 
and  handing  round  bread  and  butter  and  biscuits,  and 
Christabel,  with  a  sheaf  of  newspaper  cuttings  in  her 
hand,  standing  up  on  one  of  the  chairs  to  furnish 
the  latest  news  of  the  militant  campaign  and  to  ex- 
plain the  next  move  in  the  plan  of  action. 

On  the  following  February  4th,  Mr.  Winston 
Churchill  spoke  in  the  Free  Trade  Hall,  Manchester, 
and  he  bargained  beforehand  with  the  Suffragettes 
that  they  should  not  interrupt  him  during  his  speech, 
on  condition  that  he  would  answer  a  question  on 
Women's  Suffrage  before  he  left  the  platform.  At 
the  close  of  the  meeting  he  accordingly  did  so  by 
saying  definitely  that  he  would  not  vote  for  a  Bill  to 
enfranchise  women  on  the  same  terms  as  men.  He 
added  that  he  greatly  regretted  that  **  earnest,  good- 
hearted  women  should  pursue  courses  which  brought 
them  suffering  and  humiliation,"  but  **  God  forbid  " 
that  he  should  **  mock  "  them  by  concealing  his  opin- 
ion. My  sister  Adela  then  rose  to  ask  if  he  had  in- 
tended to  speak  for  himself  alone,  or  on  behalf  of 


the  Government,  an  exceedingly  important  point. 
What  followed  is  best  described  in  the  words  of  an 
eye  witness  who  wrote  at  once  to  Christabel  at  Clem- 
ent's Inn :  *'  Last  night's  affair  was  terrible.  It  was 
a  wonder  someone  was  not  killed.  Your  sister  was 
thrown  down  and  kicked  by  several  men.  The  at- 
tack was  really  unprovoked;  the  stewards  had  made 
up  fheir  minds  to  do  it  before  the  meeting.  Your 
sister  has  a  black  eye,  Mrs.  Chatterton's  throat  was 
hurt  and  Miss  Gawthorpe  would  have  been  seriously 
handled  but  that  some  men  came  to  her  rescue." 

Many  women  who  had  long  felt  that  there  was 
"  something  wrong  "  with  the  position  of  their  sex, 
but  had  not  realised  that  the  possession  of  the  Parlia- 
mentary franchise  could  do  anything  to  remove  the 
disabilities  both  of  law  and  custom  from  which  they 
suffered,  were  now  being  awakened  by  the  much- 
talked-of  militant  tactics  to  a  knowledge  of  what  the 
vote  could  do  for  them.  Moreover,  many  who  for 
years  had  been  nominal  adherents  of  the  Suffrage 
movement,  now  began  to  feel  that  if  some  other 
women  cared  so  passionately  for  the  cause  that  they 
were  prepared  to  throw  aside  all  the  usual  conven- 
tions of  good  manners  and  to  thrust  themselves  for- 
ward to  meet  ridicule,  scandalous  abuse,  ill  usage  and 
imprisonment,  it  was  surely  time  that  they  too  should 
make  sacrifices.  Their  hearts  smote  them  that  they 
had  not  done  more  for  it  in  the  past.  But  most  of 
them  as  yet  thought  only  of  bolstering  up  and  stirring 
to  new  activity  the  old  National  Union  of  Women's 
Suffrage  Societies  for  they  still  looked  upon  the  mili- 
tant women  as  a  rather  dreadful  body  of  fanatics 
who  could  have  no  notion  either  of  systematic  or- 
ganisation   or    the    prudent   laying-out    of   money. 

NOVEMBER,  '06,  TO  FEBRUARY,  '07     135 

Therefore,  though  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  was  already 
growing  largely,  the  N.  U.  W.  S.  S.  was  as  yet  bene- 
fiting most  largely  from  its  activities.  But  times  had 
changed  and  even  the  most  old-fashioned  of  the  Suf- 
fragists were  now  ready  to  copy  the  first  non-militant 
doings  of  the  Suffragettes  and,  in  order  to  prove  that 
they  really  wanted  the  franchise,  they  too  determined 
to  march  in  procession  through  the  London  streets. 
Therefore  on  February  9th,  1907,  three  days  before 
the  opening  of  Parliament,  a  crowd  of  the  non- 
militants  assembled  close  to  the  Achilles  statue  at 
Hyde  Park  Comer.  It  was  a  dismal  wet  Saturday 
afternoon,  but  in  spite  of  the  rain  and  the  muddy 
streets  a  procession  of  women  half  a  mile  in  length 
was  formed  and  marched  steadily  on  to  attend  meet- 
ings in  Exeter  Hall  in  the  Strand  and  in  Trafalgar 
Square.  This  procession  was  afterwards  known  as 
the  "  Mud  March." 

At  the  Exeter  Hall  the  principal  speakers  who  had 
been  chosen  to  address  the  gathering  of  women  were 
Mr.  Keir  Hardie  and  Mr.  Israel  Zangwill.  Mr. 
Hardie  devoted  himself  to  urging  the  women  to  place 
the  question  of  their  enfranchisement  before  all  other 
party  considerations.  Meanwhile  a  most  extraor- 
dinary scene  occurred,  for,  whilst  his  remarks  were 
punctuated  by  volumes  of  cheers  from  the  great  body 
of  the  audience,  a  number  of  Liberal  ladies  on  the 
platform  set  up  a  hissing  chorus. 

When  Mr.  Zangwill  came  to  speak,  he,  too,  de- 
clared himself  to  be  a  supporter  of  the  militant  tac- 
tics and  the  anti-Government  policy,  and  the  same 
Liberal  ladies,  although  they  had  themselves  asked 
him  to  speak  for  them,  expressed  their  dissent  and 
disapproval  as  audibly  as  though  they  had  been  Suf- 


fragettes  and  he  a  Cabinet  Minister.  From  Mr. 
Zangwill's  brilliant  speech  —  his  maiden  speech  as  a 
politician  as  he  said  it  was  —  which  has  since  been 
published  under  the  title  "  One  and  One  are  Two,"  I 
can  but  quote  an  extract  to  conclude  this  chapter : 

What  is  it  that  prevents  the  Prime  Minister  bringing  in 
a  Bill  for  Female  Suffrage  at  once,  in  this  very  Parliament 
that  is  opening?  He  is  in  favour  of  it  himself,  and  so  is 
the  majority  of  the  House.  The  bulk  of  the  representa- 
tives of  the  people  are  pledged  to  it.  Here,  then,  is  a 
measure  which  both  parties  deem  necessary.  A  sensible 
woman  would  think  that  the  first  thing  a  Parliament  would 
do  would  be  to  pass  those  measures  about  which  both  par- 
ties agree.  Simple  female !  That  is  not  man's  way.  That 
is  not  politics.  What  is  wanted  in  Parliament  is  measures 
about  which  both  parties  disagree,  and  which,  in  conse- 
quence, can  never  be  passed  at  all.  I  declare  I  know  noth- 
ing outside  Swift  or  W.  S.  Gilbert  to  equal  the  present 
situation  of  Women's  Suffrage.  •  .  .  The  majority 
have  promised  to  vote  for  Women's  Suffrage.  But  whom 
have  they  promised?  Women.  And  women  have  no  votes. 
Therefore  the  M.P.'s  do  not  take  them  seriously.  You  see 
the  vicious  circle.  In  order  for  women  to  get  votes  they 
must  have  votes  already.  And  so  the  men  will  bemock 
and  befool  them  from  session  to  session.  Who  can  wonder 
if,  tired  of  these  gay  deceivers,  they  begin  to  take  the  law 
into  their  own  hands  ?  And  public  opinion  —  I  warn  the 
Government  —  public  opinion  is  with  the  women.  .  .  . 
They  are  unwomanly  —  and  therein  consists  the  martyrdom 
of  the  pioneers.  They  have  to  lower  themselves  to  the 
manners  of  men;  they  have  to  be  unwomanly  in  order  to 
promote  the  cause  of  womanhood.  They  have  to  do  the 
dirty  work.  Let  those  lady  suffragists  who  sit  by  their 
cosey  firesides  at  least  give  them  admiration  and  encourage- 
ment. "  Qui  veut  la  fin,  veut  les  moyens."  And  undoubt- 
edly the  means  are  not  the  most  ladylike.     Ladylike  means 

NOy EMBER,  *o6,  TO  FEBRUARY,  '07     137 

are  all  very  well  if  you  are  dealing  with  gentlemen;  but 
you  are  dealing  with  politicians.  ...  In  politics  only 
force  counts,  but  how  is  a  discredited  minority  to  exercise 
force?  .  .  .  There  is  a  little  loophole.  Every  now 
and  then  the  party  in  power  has  to  venture  outside  its  cita- 
del to  contest  a  by-election.  The  ladies  are  waiting.  The 
constituency  becomes  the  arena  of  battle,  and  every  Gov- 
ernment candidate,  whether  he  is  for  female  suffrage  or  not, 
is  opposed  tooth  and  nail.  For  every  Government  —  Lib- 
eral or  Conservative  —  that  refuses  to  grant  Female  Suf- 
frage is  ipso  facto  the  enemy.  The  cause  is  to  be  greater 
than  mere  party.  Damage  the  Government  —  that  is  the 
whole  secret.  Are  these  tactics  sound?  In  my  opinion, 
absolutely  so.  They  are  not  only  ladylike,  they  are  con- 
stitutional. They  are  the  only  legitimate  way  in  which 
woman  can  bring  direct  political  pressure  upon  the  Gov- 
ernment. .  .  .  Far  better  than  to  put  yourself  in  prison 
is  to  keep  a  man  out  of  Parliament.  .  .  .  What  Chris- 
tianity cannot  do,  what  charity  cannot  do,  what  all  the 
thunder  of  your  Carlyles  and  your  Ruskins  cannot  do,  a. 
simple  vote  does.  And  so  to  these  myriads  of  tired  women 
who  rise  in  the  raw  dawn  and  troop  to  their  cheerless  fac- 
tories, and  who,  when  the  twilight  falls,  return  not  to  rest 
but  to  the  labours  of  a  squalid  household,  to  these  the 
thought  of  Women's  Suffrage,  which  comes  as  a  sneer  to 
the  man  about  town,  comes  as  a  hope  and  a  prayer.  Who 
dares  leave  that  hope  unillumined,  that  prayer  unanswered? 
.  .  .  For  fifty  years  now  woman  has  stood  crying:  "  I 
stand  for  justice  —  answer,  shall  I  have  it  ? "  And  the 
answer  has  been  a  mocking  "  no  "  or  a  still  more  mocking 
"yes."  With  this  flabby  friendliness,  this  policy  of  end- 
less evasion.  To-day  she  cries:  "I  fight  for  justice  and 
I  answer  that  I  shall  have  it." 



The  First  Woman's  Parliament  in  the  Caxton 
Hall  and  the  Sending  Out  of  the  Mounted  Po- 
lice TO  Drive  Away  the  Women's  Deputation. 
Mr.  Dickinson's  Bill  and  the  Second  Women's 

And  now  again  the  thoughts  of  all  the  women 
who  wanted  votes  were  turning  towards  the  opening 
of  Parliament  The  old  fashioned  Suffragists  had 
held  their  demonstration  during  the  recess  but  that 
of  the  Suffragettes  was  istill  to  come  and  it  had  been 
announced  that  on  February  13th,  1907,  a  Parlia- 
ment of  women  would  sit  in  the  Caxton  Hall  to 
consider  the  provision  of  the  Kiilg's  speech  to  be 
read  in  the  Nation's  Parliament  on  the  previous  day. 
It  was  but  a  year  since  Annie  Kenney  had  set  off  to 
rouse  London  and  since  Mrs.  Pankhurst  had  feared 
that  we  should  neither  fill  the  Caxton  Hall  nor  in- 
duce a  body  of  women  to  march  for  the  sake  of  a  vote 
through  the  London  streets,  but  the  tickets  were  now 
sold  off  so  rapidly  that  the  Exeter  Hall  in  the  Strand 
was  also  requisitioned,  and  we  could  now  firmly  rely 
on  hundreds  of  women  who  were  ready  and  eager, 
not  merely  to  walk  in  procession,  but  if  need  be  to 
risk  imprisonment  for  the  Cause. 

Parliament  met  on  Tuesday  the  1 2th,  and  we  soon 
learnt  that  the  King's  speech  had  made  no  mention  of 


FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  1907        139 

Votes  for  Women.  Therefore  when  the  Women's 
Parliament  met  at  three  o'clock  next  day,  it  did  so 
ready  for  decisive  action.  Mrs.  Pankhurst  was  in 
the  Chair,  and  throughout  the  proceedings  there  were 
manifestations  of  an  enthusiasm  such  as  the  women 
of  our  time  had  before  then  never  learnt  to  show. 
A  Resolution  expressive  of  indignation  that  Votes  for 
Women  had  been  omitted  from  the  King's  speech  and 
calling  upon  the  House  of  Commons  to  insist  that 
precedence  should  be  given  to  such  a  measure,  was 
moved  in  stirring  words  and  carried  with  every  dem- 
onstration of  fervent  eagerness.  A  motion  that  the 
resolution  should  be  taken  to  the  Prime  Minister  by  a 
deputation  from  the  meeting  was  greeted  with  cheer- 
ing and  waving  of  handkerchiefs.  Then  the  watch- 
word, "  Rise  up  women  I  "  was  sounded,  and  the  an- 
swer came  in  a  great  unanimous  shout,  "  Now," 
while  hundreds  of  women  volunteers  ready  for  Par- 
liament or  Prison  sprang  to  their  feet. 

Mrs.  Despard  was  chosen  to  lead  the  deputation, 
and,  as  each  woman  marched  out  of  the  Caxton  Hall, 
a  copy  of  the  Resolution  for  the  Prime  Minister  was 
put  into  her  hand.  We  formed  up  in  orderly  pro- 
cession, and,  amid  the  cheers  of  the  thousands  of  men 
and  women  who  had  gathered  in  sympathy,  and  with 
police  walking  in  front  of  us,  we  marched  into  Vic- 
toria Street  and  on  towards  the  House  of  Commons. 

It  was  cold  but  a  shimmering  dainty  day,  the  sky 
a  delicate  rain-washed  blue  and  the  sunshine  gleam- 
ing on  the  fine  gilded  points  on  the  roof  of  the  tall 
clock  tower.  We  stepped  out  smartly  and  all  seemed 
to  be  going  well,  but  when  those  who  were  in  front 
reached  the  green  in  front  of  the  Abbey,  a  body  of 
police  barred  their  way  and  an  Inspector  called  to 


them  to  turn  back,  and  ordered  his  men  to  break  up 
the  procession.  The  police  strode  through  and 
through  our  ranks,  but  the  women  at  once  united 
again  and  pressed  bravely  on.  A  little  further  we 
went  thus,  when  suddenly,  a  body  of  mounted  police 
came  riding  up.  In  an  instant  Mrs.  Despard  and 
several  others  in  the  front  rank  were  arrested,  and 
the  troopers  were  urging  their  horses  into  the  midst 
of  the  women  behind,  scattering  them  right  and  left. 

Still  we  strove  to  reach  our  destination,  and  re- 
turned again  and  again.  Those  of  us  who  rushed 
from  the  roadway  on  to  the  pavement  were  pressed 
by  the  horses  closer  and  closer  against  the  walls  and 
railings  until  at  last  we  retreated  or  were  forced  away 
by  the  constables  on  foot.  Those  of  us  who  took 
refuge  in  doorways  were  dragged  roughly  down  the 
steps  and  hurled  back  in  front  of  the  horses.  When 
even  this  failed  to  banish  us,  the  foot  constables 
rushed  at  us  and,  catching  us  fiercely  by  the  shoulders, 
turned  us  round  again  and  then  seizing  us  by  the 
back  of  the  neck  and  thumping  us  cruelly  between 
the  shoulders  forced  us  at  a  running  pace  along  the 
streets  until  we  were  far  from  the  House  of  Com- 
mons. They  had  been  told  to  drive  us  away  and 
to  make  as  few  arrests  as  possible.  Still  we  re- 
turned again,  until  at  last  sixty-five  women  and  two 
men,  all  of  them  bruised  and  dishevelled,  had  been 
taken  to  the  police  station,  and  those  who  had  not 
been  arrested  were  almost  fainting  from  fatigue. 
Then,  after  ten  o'clock,  the  police  succeeded  in  clear- 
ing the  approaches  to  the  House  of  Commons,  and 
the  mounted  men  were  left  galloping  about  in  the 
empty  square  till  midnight,  when  the  House  rose. 

In  spite  of  the  fierce  battle  to  keep   them  out. 

FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  igoj       141 

fifteen  of  the  Suffragettes  succeeded  by  strategy  in 
making  their  way  into  the  Strangers'  Lobby  of  the 
House  of  Commons  and  at  about  six  o'clock  at- 
tempted to  hold  a  meeting  there.  The  police,  of 
course,  rushed  to  put  them  out  and,  in  the  confusion 
that  ensued  one  of  the  women  succeeded  in  getting 
past  the  barriers  and  making  her  way  down  the 
passage  leading  to  the  beautiful  white  inner  lobby 
which  opens  into  the  sacred  chamber  of  debate.  She 
had  just  reached  the  first  set  of  swing-doors  when 
a  Member  of  Parliament  dashed  up  and  slammed 
them  against  her  with  such  force  that  she  was  thrown 
to  the  ground  and  carried  out  in  a  fainting  condi- 

Members  of  Parliament  could  scarcely  fail  to  have 
been  impressed  by  the  extraordinary  scenes  which 
had  taken  place,  and  when  the  adjournment  of  the 
House  was  moved  that  night  a  Unionist  Member, 
Mr.  Claud  Hay,  asked  the  Home  Secretary  whether 
it  had  been  necessary  to  inconvenience  its  Members 
by  surrounding  Parliament  with  a  body  of  police, 
both  upon  horse  and  foot,  as  great  as  though  it  had 
been  a  fortress  instead  of  a  deliberative  assembly. 
It  appeared  to  him,  he  said,  that  Mr.  Gladstone 
was  afraid  of  the  women,  but  they  were  entitled 
to  make  a  protest  even  if  it  were  not  agreeable  to 
Members  of  Parliament,  and  there  was  no  need  to 
brow-beat  them  by  using  force.  Mr.  Gladstone  re- 
plied that  he  had  very  little  knowledge  of  what  had 
been  going  on  outside  the  House,  but  Mr.  Claud 
Hay  interrupted  him  with,  **  Then  you  ought  to 
have  I  "  At  that  he  hesitated  and  changed  his  tone, 
saying  that  it  was  the  police  who  were  responsible 
for  keeping  open  the  approaches  to  the  House,  that 


they  had  only  done  their  duty,  and  that  he  hoped 
they  would  continue  to  do  it  in  the  same  way. 

Next  morning  all  the  world  was  talking  of  the 
melee,  and  in  the  newspapers  there  were  long  ac- 
counts and  startling  headlines  describing  the  scenes 
that  had  taken  place.  These  were  very  much  more 
favourable  to  the  women  than  any  which  had  been 
published  hitherto,  for,  though  the  Press  was  still 
far  from  admitting  the  extreme  urgency  of  the  cause 
of  Women's  Suffrage,  or  the  need  for  the  militant 
tactics  as  a  means  of  obtaining  the  Parliamentary 
vote,  still  a  large  section  of  both  Press  and  public 
were  unanimous  in  condemning  the  Government  for 
the  violent  measures  which  it  had  employed  to  sup- 
press the  women's  deputation.  Many  compared  the 
sending  out  of  mounted  police  against  a  procession 
of  unarmed  women  to  the  employment  of  Cossacks 
in  Russia,  and  the  Liberal  Daily  Chronicle  pub- 
lished a  cartoon  called  "  The  London  Cossack " 
which  showed  a  portly  policeman  riding  off  with  a 
trophy  of  ladies'  hats. 

At  ten  o'clock  on  Thursday  morning,  January 
14th,  the  fifty-seven  women  and  the  two  men  who 
had  been  arrested  on  the  previous  day  appeared  at 
the  Westminster  Police  Court.  The  women  were 
put  in  one  of  the  side  rooms,  and  then  a  band  of 
policemen  filed  in  and  each  one  identified  his  pris- 
oner. For  piost  of  the  women  this  was  a  first  visit 
to  the  police  court,  and,  though  many  of  them  were 
severely  bruised  by  the  previous  day's  encounter, 
they  were  all  determined  to  make  the  best  of  the 
experience  and  to  dwell,  as  far  as  possible,  upon  the 
humorous  side  of  the  situation.  Whilst  the  Suffra- 
gettes were  ready  to  forgive,  the  constables  seemed 

FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  1907        143 

mostly  anxious  to  forget  the  violence,  and  many  of 
the  men  asked  their  captives  to  give  them  the  round 
white  **  Votes  for  Women  "  buttons  which  they  were 
wearing  as  mementoes  of  the  women's  famous 
"  raid  "  on  the  House  of  Commons.  After  waiting 
until  the  drunkards  and  pickpockets  had  been  dis- 
posed of,  the  Suffragettes  were  taken  into  the  Court 
one  or  two  at  a  time.  Christabel  Pankhurst,  as 
organiser  of  the  Demonstration  was,  at  her  own  re- 
quest^ the  first  to  be  placed  in  the  dock.  She  ex- 
plained clearly  that  many  of  our  members  had  suf- 
fered very  seriously,  but  that  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  wished 
to  fix  the  blame  for  what  had  occurred,  not  upon 
the  police,  but  upon  the  Government  that  had  dic- 
tated the  use  of  these  measures  for  clearing  the 
women  away.  If  the  Government  refused  to  take 
"  the  only  just,  simple  and  proper  way  out  of  the 
difficulty  —  that  of  giving  women  their  undoubted 
right  to  vote,"  she  said,  **  the  responsibility  must  be 
theirs,  and  if  lives  are  lost  in  this  campaign  the 
Liberal  Government  will  be  directly  responsible. 
One  thing  is  certain;  there  can  be  no  going  back  for 
us,  and  more  will  happen  if  we  do  not  get  justice." 
Mr.  Curtis  Bennett,  the  magistrate,  here  intervened, 
saying  with  what  he  evidently  thought  was  unan- 
swerable firmness,  that  the  women  undoubtedly  were 
responsible  for  all  the  trouble,  that  there  were  other 
means  of  obtaining  votes;  and  that  these  disorderly 
scenes  in  the  streets  must  be  stopped.  '*  They  can 
be  stopped,"  she  retorted,  "  but  only  in  one  way." 
He  looked  at  her  sternly,  and  '*  twenty  shillings  or 
fourteen  days,"  was  his  sole  reply.  Then  she  was 
hurried  away,  and,  in  an  incredibly  short  space  of 
time,  fifty-four  Suffr.agettes  h^4  been  tried  and  sen- 


tenced  to  undergo  punishment  varying  from  ten  shil- 
lings or  seven  days'  imprisonment  to  forty  shillings 
or  one  month.  Forty  shillings  or  one  month's 
imprisonment  had  also  been  imposed  on  a  working 
man,  Mr.  Edward  Croft,  who  had  been  arrested 
for  trying  to  defend  one  of  the  women  in  Parlia- 
ment Square.  All  those  who  had  been  convicted 
refused  to  pay  their  fines  and  decided  to  go  to  prison, 
and. whilst  Mr.  Croft  was  removed  to  Pentonville, 
we  Suffragettes  were  taken  away  in  the  van  to  Hollo- 
way  Gaol. 

On  arriving  at  the  prison  we  found  that,  as  was 
now  the  rule,  most  of  our  number  were  to  be  treated 
as  first  class  misdemeanants,  though  some  few,  with- 
out any  apparent  reason  were  to  be  placed  in  the 
second  division.  Those  of  us  who  had  been  there 
some  months  before  now  found  that  several  minor 
innovations  had  been  introduced  since  our  last  visit 
to  HoUoway.  When  we  had  originally  been  put  in 
the  first  class,  Mrs.  Cobden  Sanderson,  who  was  a 
vegetarian,  was  daily  served  with  the  usual  prison 
diet,  and  though  she  was  obliged  to  leave  the  meat, 
no  extra  vegetables  were  allowed  her,  and  she  was 
obliged  to  exist  on  her  potatoes  and  bread.  Now  a 
special  dietary  had  been  introduced  for  vegetarians, 
which  consisted  at  this  season  of  an  alternation  of 
carrots  and  onions,  with  occasional  rather  stale  eggs 
as  a  substitute  for  meat,  and  milk,  night  and  morn- 
ing, instead  of  cocoa  and  tea.  Butter  was  some- 
times allowed  by  the  doctor's  special  order.  Now 
that  so  large  a  number  of  us  occupied  adjoining  cells 
in  one  corwdor  and  were  sent  out  to  exercise  to- 
gether apart  from  the  other  prisoners,  the  author- 
ities found  it  difficult  to  enforce  the  full  rigour  of 

FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  1907        145 

the  prison  regime.  They  found  it  difficult  to  pre- 
vent our  speaking  to  each  other  occasionally  when 
we  stood  together  in  line  waiting  to  be  marched  to 
exercise  or  chapel;  they  could  scarcely  stop  the  tap- 
ping out  conversations  on  the  cell  walls  which  was 
carried  on  by  neighbouring  Suffragettes.  Sometimes, 
when  the  wardresses  were  off  duty,  one  of  our  num- 
ber would  strike  up  a  hymn  or  march  to  which  words 
suitable  to  our  movement  had  been  adapted.  The 
others  would  join  in  chorus;  and  when  the  officers 
came  hurrying  back  it  would  be  some  moments  be- 
fore silence  could  be  restored. 

For  one  cause  or  another  many  of  us  were  sent 
to  the  hospital,  some  being  placed  in  a  ward  with 
some  twenty  or  thirty  other  prisoners,  others  in 
separate  hospital  cells. 

With  the  exception  of  Mrs.  Despard  and  myself 
all  the  Suffragettes  were  released  at  the  end  of  the 
first  fortnight,  but  our  sentences  did  not  expire  until  a 
week  later.  A  procession  had  been  organised  to  wel- 
come our  comrades^  and  a  band  had  played  for  an 
hour  outside  the  prison  gates.  It  is  difficult  to  de- 
scribe the  effect  upon  ourselves  which  was  created 
by  the  music.  We  knew  that  it  was  being  played 
by  our  friends.  We  felt  almost  as  though  they 
were  speaking  to  us^  and  to  hospital  prisoners  who 
are  not  even  allowed  to  attend  service  in  the  chapel, 
the  very  sound  of  the  music  in  that  dreary  place  was 
extraordinarily  impressive.  It  made  one's  pulses 
throb  and  filled  one's  eyes  with  tears. 

The  poor  ordinary  prisoners  were  filled  with  ex- 
citement and  delight  and  when  we  were  out  at  exercise 
with  them  on  the  day  before  our  release,  woman  after 
woman  contrived  to  walk  for  a  few  moments,  either 


before  or  after  one  or  other  of  us  in  the  line  and 
to  ask  if  we  also  would  be  met  by  a  band.  "  How 
splendid  for  you !  "  said  one  of  the  girls  to  me  wist- 
fully. "  I  only  wish  I  had  friends  to  meet  me. 
But  I  am  glad  for  you."  "  We  are  looking  forward 
to  the  band,  but  we  shall  be  sorry  to  lose  you,"  an- 
other said. 

Whilst  so  many  of  us  had  been  in  prison,  a  by- 
election  had  taken  place  in  South  Aberdeen,  where 
Mrs.  Pankhurst,  at  the  head  of  the  Suffragettes' 
forces,  had  vigorously  opposed  the  Government  can- 
didate whose  majority  had  fallen  by  more  than  4,000 

The  figures  were :  — 

G.  B.  Esslemont   (L.) 3,779 

R.  McNeill    (C.) 3,412 

F.   Bramley    ( Soc.) i,740 

At  the  General  Election  the  figures  had  been :  — 

J.  Bryce   (L.) 6,780 

W.  G.  Black  .(U.) 2,332 


The  Suffragists,  too,  had  not  been  inactive,  for 
Mrs.  Henry  Fawcett,  and  four  of  her  colleagues, 
had  written  to  the  Prime  Minister  asking  that  they 
might  be  allowed  to  plead  the  cause  of  Woman's  Suf- 
frage at  the  Bar  of  the  House.  They  pointed  out 
that  in  1688,  Anne,  the  widow  of  Edward  Fitz 
Harris,  who  was  executed  for  treason  in  168 1,  had 

FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  1907        147 

been  allowed  to  speak  for  herself  and  her  children 
at  the  Bar,  and  that  Mrs.  Clarke,  mistress  of  the 
Duke  of  York,  had  been  summoned  thither  to  give 
evidence  in  regard  to  the  charges  of  corruption 
against  the  Duke.  Nevertheless,  Sir  Henry  Camp- 
bell-Bannerman  refused  to  grant  their  request  on 
the  ground  that  there  was  no  precedent  for  women 
to  appear  at  the  Bar  of  the  House  in  support  of  a 

Meanwhile,  since  the  so-called  "  Raid "  on  the 
House  that  had  led  to  our  imprisonment,  candid 
friends  had  been  constantly  telling  us  that  we  had 
entirely  alienated  the  sympathy  of  those  who  had 
hitherto  supported  the  enfranchisement  of  women. 
Yet,  even  whilst  the  "  Raid  "  had  been  in  progress, 
a  very  much  larger  number  of  Parliamentary  repre- 
sentatives were  agreeing  to  give  their  places  in  the 
private  Members'  ballot  to  a  Woman's  Suffrage  Bill 
than  had  ever  done  so  before.  When  the  result  of 
the  ballot  became  known,  it  was  found,  that  for  the 
first  time  in  the  history  of  the  movement,  the  for- 
tunate member  who  had  secured  the  coveted  first 
place  out  of  670  was  willing  to  devote  it  to  intro- 
ducing a  measure  to  give  votes  to  women.  It  was  a 
Liberal  member,  Mr.  Dickinson,  who  had  won  the 
first  place  and  had  decided  to  introduce  the  Women's 
Enfranchisement  Bill.  The  Anti-Suffragists  at  once 
began  to  work  actively  against  the  measure  and  the 
first  Women's  Anti-Suffrage  Society  that  had  ever 
been  formed  was  inaugurated  to  oppose  it.  Two 
petitions  against  the  Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill, 
one  of  them  said  to  be  signed  by  21,000  and  the 
other  by  16,500  persons,  were  presented  to  Parlia- 
ment on  March  5th  and  March  22nd.     They  were 


heralded  by  the  jubilations  of  our  opponents  but 
when  the  petitions  came  to  be  examined  they  were 
rejected  by  the  Petitions  Committee  of  Parliament 
as  "  informal."  This  was  because  the  separate  sheets 
upon  which  the  signatures  had  been  written  were  not 
each  headed  by  the  prayer  against  the  granting  of 
Women's  Suffrage,  and  there  was  consequently  no 
evidence  to  prove  that  the  signatories  had  known  for 
what  purpose  their  names  were  being  collected. 
Afterward  Mr.  J.  M.  Robertson  examined  the 
Anti-Suffrage  Petitions  and  reported  that  "  whole 
batches  of  signatures  had  been  written  in  by  a  single 
hand,"  that  "  the  batch  work  began  on  the  very  first 
sheets,"  and  that  it  appeared  as  though  the  petitions 
"  had  been  got  up  wholesale  in  this  fashion."  Mr. 
J.  H.  Wilson,  M.P.,  Chairman  of  the  Parliamentary 
Committee  on  Public  Petitions,  afterwards  stated  in 
the  House  of  Commons,  that  the  names  of  whole 
families  of  persons  had  undoubtedly  been  written  in 
by  the  same  hand.  But  even  had  these  petitions 
been  so  evidently  authentic  as  to  have  been  accepted 
by  Parliament  without  question,  they  would  still 
have  been  quite  insignificant  as  compared  with  the 
great  petitions  and  memorials  in  support  of  Votes 
for  Women,  which  had  been  presented  year  after 
year  since  1866.  But  the  days  in  which  women 
might  have  won  or  lost  the  Parliamentary  vote  by 
petitioning  had  long  gone  by,  and  all  politically 
minded  women  knew  this. 

For  a  Member  of  Parliament  to  declare  him- 
self in  open  opposition  to  Votes  for  Women,  ren- 
dered him  extremely  unpopular,  many  of  the  anti- 
Suffragists,  especially  of  the  Liberal  Party,  now 
pretended  that  their  reason   for  objecting  to  Mr. 

FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  igoj        149 

Dickinson's  Bill  was  that  they  did  not  consider  it  to 
be  a  democratic  measure.  They  declared  that  it 
would  "  disfranchise  married  women  "  would  give 
the  vote  to  women  of  wealth  and  property  only  and 
would  exclude  all  those  who  had  to  work  for  their 
own  living.  So  emphatically  was  this  statement 
made  that  it  was  difficult  to  convince  many  people 
that  the  measure  in  question  was  the  old  equal 
Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill,  and  that  there  was 
no  intention  of  introducing  some  new-fangled,  fancy 
franchise.  Yet  as  a  matter  of  fact,  Mr.  Dickinson's 
Bill  contained  only  a  slight  alteration  in  the  word- 
ing, though  not  in  the  sense,  of  the  last  clause  of  the 
original  measure.  Instead  of  the  phrase  "  any  law 
or  usage  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding,"  which 
occurred  in  the  original  Bill  and  was  intended  to 
strike  at  the  disability  of  coverture  which  affects 
married  women,  the  words,  "  A  woman  shall  not 
be  disqualified  by  reason  of  marriage  from  being  so 
registered  and  voting,  notwithstanding  any  law  or 
custom  to  the  contrary,"  were  substituted. 

On  moving  the  Second  Reading  of  the  Bill,  Mr. 
Dickinson  dealt  especially  with  the  objections  of 
those  who  declared  that  the  measure  was  anti-demo- 
cratic. He  stated,  that  in  1 904,  the  women  electors 
in  his  constituency  of  North  St.  Pancras  had  num- 
bered 1,014.  Of  these  women  three  per  cent,  had 
belonged  to  the  wealthy  upper  class,  thirty-seven  per 
cent,  to  the  middle  class,  and  sixty  per  cent,  to  the 
working  class;  many  of  the  latter  being  exceedingly 

When  asked  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Local 
Women's  Suffrage  Society  in  his  constituency  of 
Dunfermline,  whether  he  would  support  the  second 


reading  of  the  Bill,  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman 
had  replied,  "  I  will  with  much  pleasure  give  my  sup- 
port to  Mr.  Dickinson's  Bill  when  it  comes  before  the 
House  of  Commons."  Now  that  the  moment  for 
fulfiling  his  promise  had  arrived,  however,  the  Prime 
Minister  threw  cold  water  upon  the  measure.  *'  I 
am  not  very  warmly  enamoured  of  it,"  he  said,  and 
after  casting  doubt  upon  the  accuracy  of  Mr.  Dick- 
inson's figures  he  added,  that  in  his  opinion,  the 
Bill  would  merely  "  enfranchise  a  small  minority  of 
well-to-do  women."  Where  the  Prime  Minister  had 
led,  the  rank  and  file  Anti-Suffragist  Liberal  Mem- 
bers of  Parliament  followed.  Though  they  had 
neither  facts  nor  figures  of  their  own  to  quote  in  sup- 
port of  their  contention,  and,  in  face  of  both  of 
Mr.  Dickinson's  figures  and  Mr.  Snowden's  reminder 
that  the  I.  L.  P.  census  of  1904  had  shown  that 
eighty-two  per  cent,  of  the  women  on  the  Municipal 
Register  belonged  to  the  working  classes,  they  still 
continued  to  assert  that  only  "  a  handful  of  prop- 
ertied women  "  could  obtain  votes  under  this  Bill. 
At  the  same  time,  although  they  themselves  belonged 
almost  exclusively  to  the  middle  and  upper  classes, 
they  persistently  stated  their  belief  in  the  dangerous 
influence  of  the  women  who  belonged  to  those  same 

As  the  afternoon  wore  on  attempts  were  made  to 
move  the  closure  of  the  debate  in  order  that  a  vote 
on  the  Bill  might  be  taken,  but  the  Speaker  refused 
to  accept  the  resolution,  and  at  five  o'clock  Mr.  Rees, 
the  Liberal  Member  for  Montgomery  Burghs  talked 
the  measure  out  after  a  five  hours'  debate.  There 
was  no  protest  from  the  Ladies'  Gallery  this  time 
as  the  Suffragettes  had  all  been  rigorously  excluded, 

FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  igoj       151 

but  both  Suffragettes  and  Suffragists  combined  in 
urging  the  Government  to  give  another  day  for  the 
discussion  of  the  Bill.  This  they  curtly  refused,  and 
though  the  Suffragettes  had  not  agreed  to  accept 
the  decision  as  final  and  intended  to  renew  their 
demand  until  it  was  granted,  Mr.  Dickinson  shortly 
afterwards  withdrew  his  Bill  in  order  to  make  way 
for  a  Women's  Suffrage  Resolution,  a  place  for 
which  had  been  obtained  by  Sir  Charles  M'Laren. 
No  sooner  had  Mr.  Dickinson's  Bill  been  withdrawn 
and  Sir  Charles  M'Laren's  Resolution  set  down  in 
its  stead  than  it  was  blocked  by  a  discreditable  move 
on  the  part  of  a  well  known  Anti-Suffragist,  Mr. 
(afterwards  Sir)  Maurice  Levy.  Taking  advan- 
tage of  a  rule  of  the  House  of  Commons  by  which 
a  Resolution  cannot  be  proceeded  with,  if  a  Bill 
dealing  with  a  similar  subject  has  been  introduced, 
this  Liberal  member  now  brought  forward  a  Bill 
which  he  never  intended  to  be  discussed  to  give  a 
vote  to  every  adult  man  and  woman.  Therefore 
Sir  Charles  M'Laren's  Resolution  was  thus  entirely 
shelved.  This  was  not  by  any  means  the  first  time 
that  the  trick  had  been  used  in  the  case  of  a  Women's 
Suffrage  motion,  but  the  device  was  acknowledged  to 
be  an  unjustifiable  abuse  of  the  Procedure  rules. 
Mr.  Levy  refused  even  the  Speaker's  request  to 
withdraw  his  dummy  Bill.  Protests  were  raised  on 
all  sides  of  the  House,  because  it  was  realised  that, 
if  the  practice  of  bringing  in  dummy  Bills  to  pre- 
vent discussion  were  to  become  common,  the  right  of 
private  Members  to  introduce  Resolutions  would  be 
entirely  destroyed.  A  Resolution  embodying  this 
point  of  view  was  therefore  agreed  to,  and  Mr. 
Asquith  promised  that  the  Government  would  take 


action  in  the  matter.^  Though  the  question  wad 
raised  again  three  months  later,  however,  the  prom- 
ise was  never  kept,  and  though  the  general  feeling 
was  that  Mr*  Levy  had  offended  against  the  recog- 
nised etiquette  of  Parliament,  it  must  be  remem- 
bered, that,  as  the  Standard  put  it  "  if  the  Govern- 
ment had  chosen  to  exercise  pressure  Mr.  Levy 
would  have  proved  complaisant.''  ^ 

But  after  all  this  was  only  a  Resolution,  and,  realis- 

^When  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman,  introduced  a  Resolu- 
tion dealing  with  the  Veto  of  the  House  of  Lords,  three  months 
afterwards.  Lord  Robert  Cecil,  introduced  a  Dummy  Bill  for  the 
abolition  of  the  House  of  Lords'  Veto  in  order  to  prevent  Sir 
Henry  Campbell-Bannerman's  motion  being  discussed,  and  thus 
to  teach  the  Anti-Suffragists  that  their  own  blocking  tactics  could 
be  used  against  themselves.  As  Lord  Robert  Cecil  came  for- 
ward with  his  Bill,  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman,  knowing 
what  he  was  going  to  do,  begged  him  not  to  introduce  it, 
in  order  that  the  Government's  Resolution  might  not  be  de- 
layed. If  Lord  Robert  Cecil  would  not  agree,  the  Prime  Min- 
ister threatened  to  call  a  sitting  of  the  House  for  the  next 
Saturday  —  the  day  which  had  been  fixed  for  the  King's  garden 
party  —  in  order  to  pass  a  special  motion  to  allow  the  Govern- 
ment's Resolution  to  be  proceeded  with.  Still  Lord  Robert 
Cecil  protested  that  the  Government  must  draw  up  the  pro- 
posed Standing  Order  or  he  would  insist  upon  introducing  his 
Bill  and  Mr.  Balfour  supported  him  saying,  "  You  can  cook 
up  a  land  Bill  in  three  days,  yet  you  cannot  draft  a  Standing 
Order  in  three  months."  In  the  end  the  Government  again 
promised  to  make  such  action  as  Mr.  Levy's  impossible,  and 
Lord  Robert  Cecil  withdrew  his  Bill,  but  the  promise  has  not 
yet  been  redeemed. 

2  So  far  from  exercising  pressure  upon  Mr.  Levy,  the  Liberal 
Government  shortly  afterwards  gave  him  a  knighthood.  The 
failure  to  carry  out  their  pledge,  which  I  have  referred  to  in 
the  previous  note,  clearly  shows  that  the  Government  did  not 
in  any  way  disapprove  of  Mr.  Levy's  action  and  were  anxious 
that  the  possibility  of  its  being  repeated  should  remain. 

FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  1907       153 

ing  that  the  Government,  with  practically  all  the  time 
of  Parliament  at  its  disposal,  could  easily  provide 
the  few  days  necessary  for  carrying  into  Law  a 
Woman's  SuflErage  measure,  the  Women's  Social  and 
Political  Union  were  now  preparing  for  further  mil- 
itant action. 

On  the  day  of  the  talking  out  of  Mr.  Dickin- 
son's Bill  a  meeting  had  been  held  by  the  Union 
in  the  Exeter  Hall  at  which  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence 
had  called  for  subscriptions  to  inaugurate  a 
£20,000  campaign  fund,  and  over  £1,400  had  been 
sent  up  to  the  platform  during  the  meeting.  On 
March  20,  1907,  the  second  Women's  Parliament 
assembled  in  the  Caxton  Hall.^  This  Parliament 
was  specially  characterised  by  the  large  numbers  of 
delegates  from  the  provinces,  amongst  whom  was  a 
contingent  of  Lancashire  Cotton  Operatives,  led  by 
Annie  Kenney  and  wearing  their  clogs  and  shawls. 
As  before,  the  decision  to  carry  a  resolution  to  the 
Prime  Minister  was  heralded  with  an  enthusiasm 
that  was  almost  fiercely  overwhelming.  Then,  when 
Christabel  Pankhurst  called  out  from  the  platform, 
"Who  will  lead  the  deputation?"  Lady  Harber- 
ton,  for  many  years  a  Suffragist  of  the  old  school, 
eagerly  answered  "  I,"  and  at  once  hundreds  of 
women  sprang  up  to  follow  her.  As  soon  as  the 
deputation  gained  the  street  the  police  began  to  push 

1  Shortly  after  this  Second  Women*s  Parliament,  a  proposal 
was  raised  that  the  Westminster  City  Council  should  prevent 
the  Hall  being  let  to  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union. 
The  Chairman  of  the  General  Purposes  Committee  then  stated 
that  this  course  would  be  adopted  if  any  damage  were  done  to 
the  hall  itself.  Up  to  the  present  time  no  further  attempt  has 
been  made  to  prevent  the  holding  of  the  Women's  Parliament 
in  the  Hall. 


and  hustle  them,  but  though  overwhelmingly  out- 
numbered, they  bravely  strove  hour  after  hour  to 
carry  out  their  purpose.  Rigid  lines  of  police  drawn 
up  across  the  approaches  to  the  House  prevented 
their  even  getting  near  to  it,  and  though  at  one  point 
a  number  of  Lancashire  mill  hands  drove  up  in  a 
couple  of  waggonettes,  and,  being  mistaken  for  sight- 
seers, succeeded  in  reaching  the  Strangers'  Entrance, 
they  were  discovered  and  beaten  back. 

Meanwhile  Caxton  Hall  was  kept  open  all  the 
afternoon  and  on  into  the  evening,  and  the  disabled 
women  were  constantly  returning  thither.  They 
brought  with  them  the  news  that  numbers  of  women 
had  been  arrested,  and  that  though  Lady  Harber- 
ton  had  at  last  got  into  the  House  of  Commons,  her 
petition  had  been  ignored.  Christabel  Pankhurst 
then  advised  any  who  might  succeed  in  entering 
Parliament  to  take  sterner  measures, —  to  rush,  if 
they  could,  into  the  sacred  Chamber  of  debate  itself, 
to  seat  themselves  upon  the  Government  bench 
and  demand  a  hearing.  "  If  possible,"  she  cried, 
"  seize  the  mace,  and  you  will  be  the  Cromwells  of 
the  twentieth  century!"  The  women  rushed  back 
with  renewed  zeal. 

It  was  now  dark,  and,  as  the  crowds  grew  denser 
and  denser  and  the  police  turned  on  them  more 
angrily,  many  Members  of  Parliament,  including 
Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone  and  Mr.  Lloyd  George, 
came  out  to  watch  the  scene.  Some  showed  distress 
at  the  way  in  which  the  women  were  being  treated, 
but  others  regarded  it  as  a  joke.  Many  of  the 
women  were  roughly  handled  and  some  were  seri- 
ously hurt,  but,  speaking  generally,  the  violence  used 
against  them  was  not  so  great  as  on  the  previous 

FEBRUARY  AND  MARCH,  igoj       155 

February  13th.  It  was  said  that  no  fewer  than  a 
thousand  extra  police  were  especially  drafted  into 
Parliament  Square  to  guard  the  House  of  Commons. 

Amongst  those  who  had  been  arrested  were  Dr. 
Mabel  Hardy,  Miss  Naici  Peters,  a  Norwegian 
painter  and  a  friend  of  Ibsen.  Miss  Cemino  Fol- 
liero,  a  portrait  painter  from  Rome  and  Miss  Con- 
stance Clyde,  a  well  known  Australian  journalist  and 

Next  day  when  the  women  were  brought  up  be- 
fore Mr.  Horace  Smith  at  the  Westminster  Police 
Court,  Mr.  Muskett,  who  appeared  to  prosecute  on 
behalf  of  the  police,  protested  that  the  Suffragettes 
had  hitherto  been  treated  with  "  the  utmost  indul- 
gence," and  begged  that  they  should  in  future  be  dealt 
with  "  as  ordinary  lawbreakers."  Therefore  the 
magistrate  gave  to  most  of  the  women  exactly  the 
same  sentences  —  varying  from  twenty  shillings  or 
fourteen  days  to  forty  shillings  or  one  month's  impris- 
onment —  that  had  been  meted  out  to  their  comrades 
on  the  last  occasion.  Miss  Patricia  Woodlock  and 
Mrs.  Ada  Chatterton,  the  former  having  only  left 
HoUoway  on  the  expiration  of  her  previous  month's 
imprisonment  one  week  before,  were,  as  "  old  offen- 
ders," sentenced  to  one  month's  imprisonment  without 
the  option  of  a  fine.  Mrs.  Mary  Leigh  though  this 
was  her  first  arrest,  also  received  a  month's  imprison- 
ment because,  by  hanging  a  Votes  for  Women  ban- 
ner over  the  edge  of  the  dock,  she  annoyed  the  magis- 
trate, who  said  that  he  did  not  think  it  "  a  decent 
thing  to  wave  a  flag  in  a  court  of  justice." 

Thus  as  a  result  of  two  attempts  within  the  short 
space  of  five  weeks  to  carry  Resolutions  to  the  Prime 
Minister  from  meetings  of  women  held  in  the  Caxton 


Hall,  one  hundred  and  thirty  women,  who  were 
agitating  for  an  eminently  just  and  absolutely 
simple  reform,  had  been  imprisoned.  Even  to  the 
next  generation  this  state  of  things  will  appear  mon- 
strous, how  much  more  so  to  those  that  are  to  fol- 
low in  the  dim  future. 



MAY,  1907 

No  sooner  had  the  second  Women's  Parliament 
been  concluded  than  Mrs.  Pankhurst  had  hurried 
off  by  the  night  train  to  take  command  of  the  Suf- 
fragette forces  against  the  Government  at  a  by-elec- 
tion at  Hexham  in  Northumberland,  where  the 
Liberal  majority  was  reduced  by  more  than  a  thou- 
sand votes.  This  election  was  scarcely  over  when 
it  was  followed,  with  scarcely  a  week's  intermission, 
by  no  fewer  than  seven  others,  at  six  of  which  the 
Suffragettes  were  to  the  fore. 

From  Hexham  our  militant  army  was  transferred 
to  Stepney  and  then  to  Rutland,  the  smallest  English 

Writing  at  the  beginning  of  the  Rutland  contest, 
the  Daily  News  correspondent  said:  *'  Each  of  the 
three  parties  (the  third  being  the  Women's  Social 
and  Political  Union)  opened  its  campaign  with  meet- 
ings In  the  Rutland  Division  to-night."  Thus  rec- 
ognised from  the  start  as  one  of  the  three  forces  to 
be  reckoned  with  in  the  Election,  the  W.  S.  P.  U. 
kept  its  important  position  right  through  until  the 
end.  In  every  hamlet  and  village  the  women  speak- 
ers were  cordially  received  and  their  speeches  were 
listened  to  with  earnest  attention  and  respect.  After 
the  meetings,  men  and  women  clustered  round  to  ask 



questions  and  tell  how,  before  the  passing  of  the 
1884  Reform  Act  which  had  enfranchised  the  agri- 
cultural labourers,  in  the  days  when  voters  were 
scarce,  widows  and  daughters  whose  fathers  were 
dead,  had  been  frequently  turned  out  of  their  farms, 
not  because  they  could  not  pay  the  rent,  but  because 
they  could  not  vote.  Even  to-day  the  people  said 
that  a  woman  tenant  was  sometimes  looked  upon 
with  disfavour  on  that  account.  Though  the  wages 
of  the  agricultural  labourers  in  this  district  were  ex- 
ceedingly low,  there  was  hardly  a  single  member 
of  the  audience  who  did  not  buy  at  least  one  badge 
or  penny  pamphlet,  whilst  the  free  leaflets  were 
eagerly  seized  upon,  and  labourers  would  come  hur- 
rying across  the  fields  to  the  roadside  in  order  to  se- 
cure them. 

As  the  days  went  by  the  journeyings  of  the  Suf- 
fragettes from  meeting  place  to  meeting  place 
throughout  the  constituency  became  a  sort  of  tri- 
umphal progress.  We  were  cheerily  hailed  from 
afar  by  distant  workers  amongst  the  crops  and  by 
drivers  of  passing  carts.  Men,  women  and  children 
ran  to  the  cottage  doors  to  see  us  pass,  and  every- 
where we  were  greeted  with  smiles  and  kindly  words. 

Only  in  the  towns,  at  Oakham,  the  capital,  and 
at  Uppingham,  did  we  meet  with  any  opposition,  but 
here  most  of  the  working  men  were  deeply  anxious 
that  the  Liberal  should  be  returned.  Rightly  or 
wrongly  they  believed  in  the  Liberal  Party,  believed 
it  to  be  the  party  of  progress  and  the  one  that  would 
stand  by  the  poor  man.  Nevertheless  the  majority 
listened  courteously  to  our  arguments,  and  admit- 
ting at  last  that  our  policy  was  logical  and  right  for 
us,  although  inconvenient  to  them.     Many  of  the 


staunchest  Liberals  were  even  won  over  to  go  all 
the  way  with  us  and  to  help  us  to  "  keep  the  Liberal 

But,  whilst  the  majority  were  thus  willing  to  listen 
and  anxious  to  understand,  there  was  also  a  bitterly 
hostile  element  which  was  inflamed  by  an  absolutely 
unreasoning  spirit  of  party  antagonism,  and  it  was 
well  known,  and  quite  openly  stated  in  Oakham,  that 
a  certain  well-to-do  Liberal  was  paying  a  gang  of 
youths  to  shout  down  the  Suffragettes  at  their  nightly 
meetings  In  the  market  place.  It  is  always  found  by 
those  who  take  part  In  political  warfare  that  the 
roughest  and  least  civilised  members  of  society  are 
invariably  opposed  to  the  pioneer  and  the  reformer 
and  usually  support  the  Government  in  power,  to 
whatever  party  it  may  belong,  just  as  they  try  to 
**  back  the  winner  "  In  a  race.  With  the  additional 
monetary  incentive  to  create  a  disturbance,  this  ele- 
ment soon  rendered  our  market  place  meetings  un- 
pleasantly turbulent,  with  the  result  that  the  local 
police  were  kept  busier  than  they  had  been  for  a 
generation,  and  reinforcements  had  to  be  sent  in 
from  Leicestershire  In  order  to  keep  the  peace. 
The  tradesman  from  whom  we  hired  the  lorry 
that  we  used  as  a  platform,  now  announced  that  he 
dared  not  let  us  have  It  In  future  because  he  had 
been  warned,  not  only  that  the  vehicle  itself  would 
be  damaged,  but  that  his  windows  would  be  broken 
and  his  shop  looted.  Not  until  we  had  tried  with- 
out success  every  lorry  owner  in  Oakham,  did  a  man, 
who  was  storing  a  waggon  for  .a  farmer  living  many 
miles  outside  the  constituency,  at  last  come  to  us  and 
say  that,  if  we  would  go  to  the  barn  In  the  field 
where  it  was  kept  and  fetch  it  out  for  ourselves,  we 


might  have  the  use  of  this  waggon  on  promising  to 
make  good  any  damage  that  might  be  done.  We 
agreed  to  this  and  were  able  to  hold  our  meetings 
right  on  until  the  end  of  the  contest,  though  on  the 
last  two  nights  very  little  that  we  said  could  be 
heard,  owing  to  the  number  of  horns,  bells  and  rat- 
tles that  were  loudly  sounded  by  our  opponents. 
After  these  stormy  meetings  the  police  and  hosts  of 
sympathisers  always  escorted  us  home  to  protect  us 
from  the  rowdies.  Just  as  we  reached  our  door 
there  was  generally  a  little  scuffle  with  a  band  of 
youths  who  waited  there  to  pelt  us  with  sand  and 
gravel  as  we  passed  in.  Once  inside  the  house,  the 
rest  of  the  evening  was  always  taken  up  with  inter- 
viewing the  host  of  previously  unknown  callers,  who 
came  to  ask  whether  we  had  arrived  home  safely, 
to  apologise  for  the  roughs,  to  express  sympathy 
with  "  Votes  for  Women,"  to  buy  literature,  badges 
and  buttons,  or  to  ask  us  to  inscribe  our  names  in 
autograph  albums.  At  Uppingham,  the  second 
largest  town,  the  hostile  element  was  smaller  than 
at  Oakham,  but  its  methods  were  more  dangerous^. 
Whilst  Mary  Gawthorpe  was  holding  an  open-air 
meeting  there  one  evening,  a  crowd  of  noisy  youths 
began  to  throw  up  peppermint  "  bull's  eyes  "  and 
other  hard-boiled  sweets.  **  Sweets  to  the  sweet," 
said  little  Mary,  smiling,  and  continued  her  argu- 
ment, but  a  pot-egg,  thrown  from  the  crowd  behind, 
struck  her  on  the  head  and  she  fell  unconscious.  She 
was  carried  away,  but  next  day  appeared  again, 
like  a  true  Suffragette,  quite  undaunted,  and  the  in- 
cident and  her  plucky  spirit,  made  her  the  heroine 
of  the  Election.  Polling  took  place  on  June  nth, 
and  instead  of  the  great  increase  in  the  Government 

A  CROP  OF  BY-ELECTIONS         i6i 

vote  that  had  been  expected  the  Conservative  majority 
was  nearly  doubled.     The  figures  were : 

J.  Gretton    (C.) 2,213 

W,  F,  Lyon  (L.) 1,362 


The  figures  at  the  General  Election  had  been : 

H.  G.  Finch   (C.) 2,047 

Harold    Pearson    (L.) 1*564 


The  campaign  in  Rutland  was  not  yet  over,  when 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  part  of  our  forces  were  obliged 
to  go  north  to  Jarrow,  where  there  was  a  Govern- 
ment majority  of  nearly  three  thousand  votes  to  pull 
down.  The  Conservatives,  the  Labour  Party,  the 
Irish  Nationalists,  and,  of  course,  the  Liberals  them- 
selves had  each  put  a  candidate  into  the  field,  and 
every  one  of  this  bevy  of  candidates  was  "  in  favour  " 
of  Votes  for  Women. 

Whether  the  majority  of  these  who  came  in  con- 
tact with  the  Suffragettes  during  these  by-Election 
Campaigns  understood  the  workings  of  the  Party  ma- 
chinery, which  controls  the  Government  of  our  coun- 
try, well  enough  to  realise  that  by  voting  against  the 
Government  they  would  help  the  Votes  for  Women 
cause  may  perhaps  be  doubted  by  some,  though  the 
Suffragettes  were  constantly  receiving  both  written 
and  verbal  assurances  from  electors  who  declared 
that  their  votes  had  turned  upon  this  question;  but 
that  the  hearts  of  the  people  were  stirred  by  the  Suf- 
fragettes' appeal  is  absolutely  sure.  In  the  leafy 


lanes  and  tiny  villages  of  Rutland  great  interest  and 
sympathy  had  been  evoked,  but  in  smoky  struggling 
Jarrow,  with  its  coal  mines,  shipbuilding  yards  and 
engineering  works,  with  its  dingy  slums  where  over- 
crowding and  infant  mortality  are,  in  common  with 
the  rest  of  this  district,  more  rife  than  in  any  other 
part  of  the  country,  the  message  of  the  Suffragettes 
came  to  the  overburdened  women  as  a  wonderful  ray 
of  hope  that  had  burst  in  upon  the  squalor  of  their 

On  the  first  night  of  their  arrival  in  Jarrow,  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  and  Annie  Kenney  held  the  largest  open- 
air  meeting  that  had  ever  been  seen  in  that  town, 
and  the  numberless  subsequent  gatherings,  whether 
for  men  and  women,  or  for  women  only,  which  were 
held  in  halls.  In  open  spaces,  at  work  gates,  and  at 
the  collieries,  were,  in  every  case,  larger  and  more 
orderly  than  those  held  by  any  of  the  other  parties. 
A  systematic  canvass  was  made  of  the  women  house- 
holders, who  numbered  more  than  one  thousand,  and 
a  Committee  of  Local  Women  who  had  come  for- 
ward with  offers  of  help  sprang  almost  spontaneously 
into  being. 

Three  days  before  the  end  of  the  contest  It  was 
suggested  that  a  women's  procession  should  march  to 
the  various  polling  booths,  In  order  to  remind  the 
men  to  vote  against  the  nominee  of  the  Government 
that  had  refused  to  allow  women  to  become  voters 
too.  The  idea  was  eagerly  caught  up,  banners  were 
quickly  made  by  voluntary  helpers,  the  news  was  car- 
ried throughout  the  district,  and  on  polling  day  great 
crowds  of  women  came  flocking  to  the  Mechanics' 
Hall,  where  they  were  to  assemble.  They  came 
early,  but  found  that  a  well  dressed  mob  of  men 

A  CROP  OF  BY-ELECTIONS         163 

and  youths,  wearing  the  Liberal  Colours,  had  al- 
ready gathered  to  bar  the  doorway,  and  the  women 
were  literally  obliged  to  fight  their  way  both  in  and 
out  of  their  own  meeting.  As  soon  as  the  procession 
had  got  fairly  out  into  the  main  road,  however, 
everything  went  well,  for  though  at  no  time  did  the 
police  put  in  an  appearance,  either  to  keep  order  or 
to  clear  the  way  for  them,  the  women  were  protected 
from  obstruction  by  the  sympathy  and  good  will  of 
the  populace.  As  they  passed  onward,  greater  and 
greater  numbers  joined  their  ranks  until  it  seemed 
as  though  all  the  women  of  Jarrow  were  marching 
along  the  road. 

The  men  whom  they  met  coming  from  the  polling 
booths  greeted  them  with  cheers  and  cries  of  "  We 
have  voted  for  the  women  this  time.  We  have 
kept  the  Liberal  out."  They  spoke  truly,  for  when 
the  votes  were  counted,  it  was  found  that  the  Gov- 
ernment candidate  was  third  on  the  list,  and  that 
the  Liberal  vote  at  the  General  Election  had  been 
reduced  by  more  than  half.     The  figures  were : 

Pete  Curran   ( Lab. ) 4,698 

P.  Rose  Innes  (C.) 3,930 

Spencer  Leigh  Hughes  (L.) 3>474 

J.  0*Hanlon  (N.) 2,124 

The  figures  at  the  General  Election  had  been: 

Sir  C.  M.  Palmer  (L.) 8,047 

Pete  Curran   (Lab.) 5,093 

Before  the  Jarrow  election  was  over  came  another 
in  the  Colne  Valley,  in  Yorkshire,  and  here  again  an 
old  Liberal  stronghold  was  wrested  from  the  Gov- 
ernment.    After  the   declaration  of  the  poll,   Mr. 


Grayson,  the  successful  candidate,  publicly  admitted 
that  his  return  was  largely  due  to  the  heavily  dam- 
aging effect  of  the  Suffragettes'  attack  upon  his  Lib- 
eral opponent.  An  article  ^  on  this  election  headed 
"  Votes  for  Women,  but  Fair  Play  for  Liberals," 
which  appeared  in  the  Liberal  Tribune,  condemning 
the  anti-Government  by-election  policy  of  the  Suf- 
fragettes, was  an  admission  of  the  great  influence 
which  they  had  been  able  to  exercise  at  this, and  other 
recent  by-elections. 

A  more  gracious  tribute  to  the  electioneering  cap- 
abilities of  the  Suffragettes  by  the  special  correspond- 

1  If  Mr.  Stanley  is  the  saint  and  Mr.  Twyford  the  hero,  the 
Suffragettes  are  the  politicians  of  the  Electioa  ...  I  con- 
fess that  until  I  had  seen  the  Suffragette  Ironsides  at  work  I 
thought  the  Tariff  Reform  Ruperts  unsurpassed.  The  organi- 
zation of  the  Suffragettes  is  as  good  as  their  political  insight. 
They  adopt  the  "  fan  *'  formation.  They  usually  have  three  or 
four  local  centres  in  a  scattered  constituency.  The  members  of 
each  group  in  each  centre  live  together  irrespective  of  class 
differences.  It  is  a  pleasure  to  see  the  fan  opened,  controlled 
and  set  by  the  controlling  hand  at  the  centre.  Early  in  the 
morning  while  men  are  sleeping  or  at  the  Committee  Rooms  a 
group  of  women  will  walk  up  the  street  of  their  centre.  .  .  . 
At  the  crossroads  of  each  centre  each  single  group  becomes  a 
fan  itself.  Each  member  takes  a  different  road.  Chalk  in 
hand,  each  woman  whilst,  going  to  one  meeting,  makes  the  an- 
nouncement of  another.  The  men  usually  hunt  in  couples. 
They  do  not  care  to  face  these  hostile  audiences  single-handed, 
but  each  of  these  women,  as  often  as  not,  tackles  an  audience 
alone.  If  combined  hammering  is  necessary  the  central  hand 
sends  to  the  rescue.  Their  staying  power,  judging  them  by 
the  standard  of  men,  is  extraordinary.  By  taking  afternoon  as 
well  as  evening  meetings  they  have  worked  twice  as  hard  as  the 
men.  They  are  up  earlier,  they  retire  just  as  late.  Women 
against  men,  they  are  better  speakers,  more  logical,  better  in- 
formed, better  phrased,  with  a  surer  insight  for  the  telling 

A  CROP  OF  BY-ELECTIONS         165 

ent  of  the  Morning  Post  appeared  in  that  paper  on 
August  1st,  1909,  during  the  North  West  Stafford- 
shire by-election. 

The  next  Election  was  at  Bury  St.  Edmunds  in 
Suffolk.  Here  the  Liberal  vote  was  greatly  reduced, 
and  that  of  the  Conservative  more  than  doubled. 
The  figures  were : 

The  Hon.  W.  Guinness  (U.) i>63i 

W.  B.  Yates  (L.) : 741 

Unionist  majority 890 

The  figures  at  the  General  Election  had  been : 

Capt.  F.  W.  Harvey  (U.) 1,481 

W.  B.  Yates  (L.) 1,047 

Unionist  Majority 434 

When,  after  the  declaration  of  the  poll,  the  suc- 
cessful candidate,  the  Hon.  W.  Guinness,  appeared  at 
the  window  of  the  Angel  Hotel  to  thank  his  sup- 
porters and  to  speak  to  the  people  in  the  customary 
way,  he  asked,  *'  What  has  been  the  cause  of  this 
great  and  glorious  victory  ?  "  He  was  interrupted 
by  cries  of  "Votes  for  Women  1  "  and  by  "Three 
cheers  for  the  Suffragettes  1  "  vigorously  given  from 
the  assembled  crowd.  "  No  doubt  the  ladies  had 
something  to  do  with  it,'*  he  was  constrained  to  agree. 
During  this  first  year  of  by-election  work  since 
the  anti-Government  campaign  had  been  started  at 
Eye  and  Cockermouth  in  1906,  the  Suffragette  forces 
had  grown  very  largely,  and  instead  of  the  one  or 
two  workers  who  had  gone  to  the  first  contests  there 
were  now  upwards  of  thirty  regular  by-election  cam- 


paigners,  who  could  always  be  relied  upon,  at  head- 
quarters. During  each  contest  from  sixteen  to 
twenty  meetings  were  held  by  the  union  each  day. 
At  all  these  gatherings  collections  were  taken  and 
admission  was  charged  for  many  of  the  election 
meetings  held  in  halls,  though  both  practices  were 
unexampled  at  Election  times.  A  fine  answer  to  the 
Liberal  cry  that  they  were  fighting  with  "  Tory 
Gold,"  and  a  striking  proof  of  .the  Suffragette  speak- 
ers' popularity  with  the  audiences  were  thus  provided. 
At  every  contest  in  which  the  Suffragettes  had  fought 
hitherto,  there  had  been  a  fall  in  the  Government 
vote,  which  had  been  reduced  at  Cockermouth  by 
1,446;  at  Huddersfield  by  540;  in  North  West 
Derbyshire  by  1,021;  in  South  Aberdeen  by  3,001; 
at  Hexham  by  231;  at  Stepney  by  503;  at  Rutland 
by  202;  at  Jarrow  by  4,573;  at  Colne  Valley  by 
2,204;  1^  North  West  Staffordshire  by  271,  and  at 
Bury  St.  Edmunds  by  306 ;  making  in  all  a  total  loss 
of  votes  to  the  Government  of  13,300.  In  spite  of 
the  denials  of  Party  wire-pullers  a  part  of  this  loss 
was  certainly  due  to  the  Suffragettes. 

At  some  of  the  later  election  contests,  beginning 
at  Hexham,  a  new  complication  had  been  introduced. 
During  all  the  years  of  its  existence  the  old  non-mili- 
tant National  Union  of  Women's  Suffrage  Societies 
had  held  entirely  aloof  from  all  election  warfare  but, 
seeing  that  the  Suffragettes  during  the  first  year  of 
their  anti-Government  by-election  campaigning  had 
rapidly  grown  not  only  in  surface  popularity  but  in 
real  influence  with  the  electorate,  the  older  Suffragists 
now  came  to  the  conclusion  that  they,  too,  must 
adopt  a  by-election  policy.  Unfortunately,  however, 
the  older  Suffragists  had  not  the  courage  to  make 

A  CROP  OF  BY-ELECTIONS         167 

common  cause  with  the  Suffragettes  who  had  raised 
the  question  of  Women's  Suffrage  from  the  position 
of  a  stale,  old-fashioned  joke  to  that  of  a  living, 
moving  force  in  practical  politics.  They  decided,  in- 
stead, not  to  oppose  the  Government,  but  to  support 
any  Parliamentary  candidate  who  should  declare  him- 
self to  be  favourable  to  Woman  Suffrage.  If,  as 
generally  happened  nowadays,  all  the  candidates 
should  claim  to  be  favourable,  the  N.  U.  S.  S.  should 
either  support  the  most  favourable,  or  remain  neu- 
tral. In  the  event  of  no  candidate  being  favourable, 
a  special  Women's  Suffrage  candidate  might  be  run. 
Thus,  rather  than  boldly  oppose  a  Government 
that  had  only  too  clearly  shown  that  it  would  never 
give  women  the  vote  until  it  was  forced  to  do  so, 
these  old-fashioned  Suffragists  preferred  to  ignore 
entirely  the  dominating  principle  of  the  politics  of 
their  own  time,  namely,  government  by  party.  They 
preferred  to  go  on  working  for  the  return  of  a  few 
more  of  the  Private  Members  of  Parliament  who, 
though  they  already  formed  a  majority  of  more  than 
two-thirds  of  the  House  of  Commons,  had  themselves, 
for  the  hundredth  time,  been  proved  to  be  incapable 
of  doing  anything  to  prevent  the  wrecking  of  a 
Women's  Suffrage  Bill,  when,  in  that  very  March  in 
which  this  futile  election  policy  was  decided  upon, 
*  Mr.  Dickinson's  Bill  had  been  "  talked  out." 

It  is  always  more  difficult  to  carry  out  a  weak  pol- 
icy than  a  strong  one,  and  the  adoption  of  this  par- 
ticular policy  not  only  failed  to  advance  the  Suffrage 
cause,  but  also  failed  in  one  object  for  which  it 
primarily  was  designed,  namely,  to  prevent  dissen- 
sion in  the  ranks  of  the  National  Union  of  Women's 
Suffrage  Societies  itself.     Many  members  at  once  se- 


ceded  and  joined  the  Women's  Social  and  Political 
Union,  and  many  of  those  who  did  not  actually  re- 
sign their  membership  of  the  old  society  now  threw 
all  their  energy  into  working  for  the  younger,  more 
active  and  courageous  body.  On  the  other  hand, 
there  were  still  those  Liberal  women  who  cared  more 
for  party  than  for  principle  to  be  reckoned  with, 
and  one  of  these.  Lady  Carlisle,  resigned  the  Vice 
Presidentship  of  the  N.  U.  W.  S.  S.,  which  she  had 
accepted  but  a  few  days  before  the  new  by-election 
policy  had  been  announced,  because,  in  her  party- 
ridden  opinion,  to  oppose  a  Liberal  candidate  who 
was  opposed  to  their  enfranchisement,  seemed  too 
"  drastic  "  and  '*  extreme  "  a  course  for  women  to 

When  the  by-election  policy  of  the  N.  U.  W.  S.  S. 
came  to  be  put  into  practice  its  unworkable  charac- 
ter was  immediately  demonstrated.  The  candidates 
at  Hexham  were  interviewed,  with  the  result  that  the 
Unionist,  Colonel  Bates,  returned  what  was  consid- 
ered to  be  a  favourable  answer,  whilst  the  reply  of 
Mr.  R.  D.  Holt,  the  Liberal,  was  said  to  be  un- 
satisfactory. The  National  Union  of  Women's  Suf- 
frage Societies  was  therefore,  according  to  the  newly 
framed  policy,  obliged  to  support  the  Conservative 
candidate,  but,  when  they  proceeded  to  do  so,  many 
of  the  Liberal  members  of  the  organisation  objected, 
and  some  even  went  so  far  as  to  work  for  the  Lib- 
eral candidate  in  opposition  to  their  Secretary,  Miss 
Edith  Palliser,  and  the  rest  of  the  Society.  To 
make  matters  even  more  embarrassing  for  those  who 
were  endeavouring  to  carry  out  the  policy  the  Lib- 
eral candidate  now  veered  round  a  point  or  two  — 
as  candidates  so  often  will  —  and  stated  that  he  had 

A  CROP  OF  BY-ELECTIONS         169 

always  been  in  favour  of  women's  enfranchisement 
and  that  his  only  fear  was  that  women  were  not 
asking  for  their  votes  upon  a  sufficiently  democratic 
basis.  He  was  therefore  proclaimed  by  his  support- 
ers to  be  a  staunch  and  devoted  friend  of  the 
Women's  Suffrage  Cause. 

Meanwhile  the  Suffragettes  foresaw  very  clearly 
that  this  new  policy  which  would  sometimes  cause 
the  Suffragists  to  support  the  Government  candidate 
whom  they  themselves  were  strenuously  working 
against  would  confuse  the  electors  and  increase  the 
difficulty  of  explaining  the  anti-Government  policy, 
and,  though  the  anti-Government  policy  was  a  very 
simple  one,  even  simple  things  are  difficult  to  explain 
when  hosts  of  people  are  striving  to  misrepresent 

In  May,  the  National  Union  of  Suffrage  Societies 
decided  to  run  a  Parliamentary  candidate  of 
their  own,  at  a  by-election  in  Wimbledon,  and  had 
chosen  as  their  nominee  a  well  known  Liberal,  the 
Hon.  Bertrand  Russell.  The  crushing  defeat  which 
resulted  has  unfortunately  been  quoted  as  a  proof 
that  the  majority  of  the  Parliamentary  voters  in  that 
constituency  were  opposed  to  the  principle  of 
women's  enfranchisement,  but  an  impartial  examina- 
tion into  the  facts  shows  clearly  that  they  do  not  in 
any  way  justify  this  conclusion. 

The  Wimbledon  seat  had  always  been  held  by  the 
Conservatives,  and  their  majority  at  the  General 
Election,  in  spite  of  the  then  great  Liberal  revival, 
had  numbered  more  than  2,000  votes.  Now,  with 
the  well  known  and  typical  old  Conservative,  Mr. 
Henry  Chaplin,  in  the  field,  the  Liberal  Party  con- 
sidered   it    wisest    not    to    fight.     Therefore,    but 


for  the  intervention  of  the  National  Union  of 
Suffage  Societies,  who  opposed  him  because  of 
his  anti-Suffragist  views,  Mr.  Chaplin  would  have 
been  returned  without  a  contest.  Opinions  may  rea- 
sonably be  divided  as  to  whether  the  game  of  run- 
ning Parliamentary  candidates  would  possibly  be 
worth  the  candle  to  a  Women's  Suffrage  Society,  but 
everyone  will  surely  agree  that  if  Suffrage  candidates 
were  to  be  run  at  all,  the  chief  object  of  the  Suffra- 
gists ought  to  have  been  to  efface  as  far  as  possible 
all  other  points  of  political  difference  between  the 
rival  candidates  in  order  that  upon  the  question  of 
Votes  for  Women,  and  upon  that  question  alone,  the 
electors  might  have  decided  how  to  vote.  To  en- 
sure that  the  single  issue  should  predominate,  it 
might  have  been  well  to  choose  as  the  Suffragist 
nominee  a  candidate  whose  views  upon  general 
political  questions  were,  either  similar  to  those  of  his 
anti-Suffrage  opponent,  or  altogether  colourless  and 
obscure.  In  any  case  it  was  essential  that  the  Suf- 
fragist candidate  should  be  willing  to  subordinate  all 
his  other  political  opinions  and  to  concentrate  his 
attention  absolutely  upon  the  question  of  Votes  for 
Women.  In  this  Election,  however,  though  it  was 
well  known  that  Liberalism  was  unpopular,  the  Suf- 
fragists chose  to  represent  them  a  strong  Liberal 
who  was  determined  to  make  the  election  contest  an 
opportunity  for  propagating  his  Liberal  principles. 
That  Mr.  Bertrand  Russell  cared  very  much  more 
for  Liberalism  than  he  did  for  Women's  Votes  was 
at  once  apparent.  With  the  news  that  he  had  con- 
sented to  stand  as  the  Suffrage  candidate  came  the 
announcement  that  he   would   not   in   any   circum- 

A  CROP  OF  BY^ELECTIONS         171 

stances  have  agreed  to  do  so  had  an  official  Liberal 
been  nominated,  and  he  showed  clearly  that  he  had 
no  intention  of  standing  out  against  the  wishes  of 
his  party  leaders  in  order  to  press  forward  the 
Women's  Cause.  Right  from  the  outset  the  record 
of  the  Liberal  Government,  and  the  general  princi- 
ples of  Liberalism  were  the  points  constantly  put 
before  the  electors,  and  it  was  upon  these  points  that 
the  Election  was  really  fought.  Mr.  Russell's  Elec- 
tion Address,  which  was  in  fact  the  manifesto  of 
the  Suffragists,  advocated  Free  Trade,  the  Taxation 
of  Land  Values  and  other  questions  quite  uncon- 
nected with  their  cause.  In  his  last  message  to  the 
electors  he  said: 

I  ask  for  the  Liberal  vote  because  I  am  a  Liberal  through 
and  through.  I  am  just  as  much  a  Liberal  as  dozens  of  the 
Ministerialists  in  the  House  of  Commons,  who  are  as  keen 
as  ever  I  can  be  upon  the  Women's  Suffrage  question.  To 
those  who  waver  about  giving  me  their  vote  because  they 
have  doubts  on  the.  women's  question,  I  would  ask,  "  Do  you 
prefer  Mr.  Chaplin,  the  protectionist  and  crusted  Tory,  to 
one  who  is  at  least  a  Free  Trader  and  Progressive?  "  Such 
persons  should  remember  that  every  vote  not  given  to  me  is 
given  to  my  opponent! 

The  Conservatives  eagerly  seized  the  opportunity 
of  fighting  Mr.  Russell  on  the  ground  of  his  Liber- 
alism and  scouted  the  idea  of  his  being  considered  a 
Women's  Suffrage  candidate.  At  the  same  time  the 
Liberals  dissociated  themselves  from  his  candidature. 
It  was  no  great  matter  for  surprise,  therefore,  that 
Mr.  Russell  was  defeated  by  more  than  6,000  votes. 
The  figures  were: 


H.  Chaplin  (U.) 10,263 

B.  Russell  (L.) 3,299 


The  figures  at  the  General  Election  had  been: 

C.  E.  Hambro  (U.) 9,5^3 

Mr.  Lane  Fox  Pitt  (L.) 7,409 


It  is  interesting  to  note  that  In  the  six  elections  which 
had  taken  place  since  1885  the  Liberals  had  only 
thought  it  worth  their  while  to  contest  the  seat  on 
three  occasions,  and  on  one  of  these  the  Liberal  vote 
had  fallen  below  that  recorded  for  Mr.  Bertrand 

Perhaps  the  most  unfortunate  feature  of  the  con- 
test was  that  those  of  the  Suffragist  women  who 
genuinely  wished  to  further  the  interests  of  the 
women's  cause  without  respect  to  party,  instead  of 
taking  command  of  the  situation,  leading  their  can- 
didate aright,  and  showing  that  they  were  deter- 
mined that  Woman  Suffrage  should  be  the  only 
feature  of  the  election,  allowed  the  contest  to  be 
dominated  by  Mr.  Russell  and  his  Liberal  opinions. 
Herein  lay  the  great  point  of  difference  between  the 
Suffragists  and  the  Suffragettes.  The  Suffragists 
were  ever  prone  to  look  upon  their  cause  as  a  side 
issue  and  to  apologise  for  any  impatient  attempt  to 
press  it  to  the  front.  The  Suffragettes,  on  the  other 
hand,  were  ready  to  stake  their  all  upon  it  and  con- 
stantly proclaimed  it  to  be  the  highest  and  greatest 
in  the  world. 





In  spite  of  its  unprecedented  growth  the  Women's 
Social  and  Political  Union  was  now  approaching  a 
very  difficult  crisis  in  its  history;  little  by  little,  dif- 
ferences of  opinion  in  regard  to  questions  of  organi- 
sation and  policy  had  begun  to  show  themselves 
amongst  the  members  of  its  governing  body  and 
finally,  in  September,  1907,  a  reconstruction  of  the 
Committee  and  Constitution  of  the  Union  took  place. 
Now,  although  every  one  of  the  original  founders 
of  the  Union  remained,  a  number  of  those  who  had 
for  some  time  belonged  to  the  Central  Committee 
left  to  form  a  new  militant  society  called  the 
Women's  Freedom  League  which  opened  offices  at 
18  Buckingham  Street,  Strand,^  and  of  which  Mrs. 
Despard  became  Honorary  Treasurer,  Mrs.  Billing- 
ton  Grieg,  Honorary  Organiser,  and  Mrs.  Edith 
How  Martyn,  Honorary  Secretary.  At  the  same 
time  a  reconstruction  of  the  organising  basis  of  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  itself  was  ef- 
fected, and  it  became  obligatory  for  all  members  of 
the  Union  to  sign  the  following  pledge : 

I  endorse  the  objects  and  methods  of  the  Women's  Social 
and  Political  Union  and  hereby  undertake  not  to  support 

1  They  afterwards  moved  to  Robert  Street,  Strand. 



the  candidate  of  any  political  party  at  Parliamentary  elec- 
tions until  women  have  obtained  the  Parliamentary  vote. 

All  the  prominent  members  of  the  W.  S.  P.  U. 
who  had  not  already  done  so  now  formally  severed 
their  connexion  with  the  political  parties  to  which 
they  had  at  one  time  belonged.  During  the  past 
year  a  useful  little  weekly  paper  entitled  fVomen's 
Franchise  had  been  started  by  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
Francis  as  the  joint  organ  of  the  various  Suffrage 
Societies,  and  in  the  month  of  October,  1907,  Fotes 
for  Women,  the  organ  of  the  Women's  Social  and 
Political  Union,  was  first  issued  as  a  monthy  paper, 
by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence.  Our  members 
at  once  volunteered  to  sell  it  in  the  streets,  and  were 
soon  turning  themselves  into  sandwich  women  and 
parading  about  with  its  contents  bills  slung  from 
their  shoulders,  riding  on  horseback  through  Picca- 
dilly with  its  posters  hanging  from  the  saddle,  sell- 
ing it  from  decorated  busses  and  carriages,  can- 
vassing for  subscribers  and  advertisers  for  it  and 
evolving  a  hundred  and  one  devices  to  increase  its 
sale.  As  a  result  of  these  efforts  both  its  size  and 
circulation  increased  rapidly.  In  May,  1908,  it  be- 
came a  penny  weekly  paper,  and  in  the  beginning  of 
the  year  1909  its  circulation  had  risen  to  between 
30,000  and  50,000  copies  weekly,  and  it  was  handed 
over  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Lawrence  to  the  Union  itself 
as  a  paying  concern. 

On  October  5th  a  Woman's  Suffrage  procession 
was  organised  in  Edinburgh  by  the  Militant  and 
Non-Militant  Women's  Suffragist  Societies,  and 
some  four  thousand  women  from  all  parts  of  Scot- 
land assembled  under  the  shadow  of  Arthur's  Seat 


and,  cheered  by  upwards  of  a  hundred  thousand  peo- 
ple who  had  gathered  to  see  them,  marched  thence 
to  the  Synod  Hall,  where  there  was  held  a  crowded 
demonstration  which  overflowed  into  the  Pillar 

Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman  was  in  Edin- 
burgh  at  the  time,  and  was  asked  to  receive  a  depu- 
tation from  the  processionists,  but,  though  this  was 
backed  by  many  influential  Scotswomen,  he  refused. 
When  on  October  22nd,  he  spoke  at  Dunfermline,  in 
his  own  constituency,  the  Premier  was  obliged,  as 
Scotch  "  heckling  "  is  a  recognised  institution,  to  re- 
ply to  the  questioning  of  women  as  well  as  of  men. 
He  was  asked:  "  As  the  Prime  Minister  believes  in 
Women's  Suffrage,  would  he  suggest  some  fresh 
methods  which  we  could  adopt  in  order  to  gain  our 

He  replied:  "  I  think  women  ought  to  go  on  agi- 
tating, holding  meetings  and  pestering  as  much  as 
they  can,  as  all  other  men  and  women  who  are  in- 
terested in  public  questions  have  to  do."  Whatever 
this  piece  of  advice  may  have  been  intended  to  sug- 
gest, it  certainly  sounded  very  much  like  a  justifica- 
tion of  the  policy  of  **  pestering  "  members  of  the 
Government  at  their  meetings. 

For  six  months  the  Suffragettes  had  devoted  them- 
selves to  strengthening  and  extending  their  organisa- 
tion, electioneering,  the  distribution  of  literature 
and  the  holding  of  propaganda  meetings  of  which, 
between  May  and  October,  some  3,000  had  taken 
place,  including  a  demonstration  in  Boggart  Hole 
Clough,  Manchester,  attended  by  15,000  people,  an- 
other in  Stevenson  Square,  Manchester,  attended 
by  20,000  people,  and  meetings  in  Hyde  Park  each 


Sunday  at  many  of  which  the  audiences  had  num- 
bered upwards  of  12,000.  Nevertheless  the  ques- 
tion of  Votes  for  Women,  which  had  bulked  so 
largely  in  the  papers  whilst  the  militant  tactics  had 
been  in  full  swing,  had  almost  entirely  disappeared 
from  the  Press  during  these  latter  months  and  any- 
one who  judged  from  the  newspapers  alone  might 
well  have  imagined  that  the  agitation  had  died 
down.  This  fact,  together  with  the  Government's 
continued  refusal  even  to  consider  the  question  of 
granting  Votes  to  Women,  was  enough,  without  the 
Prime  Minister's  curiously  provocative  statement,  to 
convince  the  Suffragettes  that  the- time  had  come  to 
recommence  an  active  militant  campaign,  and  from 
this  time  onward  a  Cabinet  Minister's  Meeting  was 
invaded  on  almost  every  day  until  Parliament  met 
in  the  new  year.  Again  and  again  members  of  our 
Union,  with  a  courage  and  perseverance  which  too 
few  people  have  ever  recognised,  presented  them- 
selves at  these  meetings,  and,  having  asked  their 
question  or  made  their  protest,  were  rudely  set  upon 
by  crowds  of  stewards  and  flung  fiercely  and  violently 
out  into  the  street. 

Many  outsiders  preferred  to  look  upon  the  women 
who  faced  this  violence  as  being  harder  and  less  sen- 
'  sitive  or  as  differing  in  some  other  way  from  the  rest 
of  their  sex,  but  this  was  not  by  any  means  the  case. 
Many  of  those  who  bore  the  worst  brunt  of  the 
battle  were  women  who  had  hitherto  taken  no  part 
in  politics,  and  had  always  led  quiet  and  sheltered 
lives.  Others  had  had  to  fight  hard  for  their  liveli- 
hood. Indeed  they  were  of  all  ages  and  of  all  classes. 
Week  by  week  greater  numbers  of  them  were  join- 


ing  the  Union  and  coming  forward  to  take  a  part  in 
this  work;  but  young  and  old,  rich  and  poor,  were 
treated  in  the  same  way.  Meanwhile  Cabinet  Min- 
isters either  expressed  surprised  and  horrified  dis- 
approval of  their  behaviour  or  sought  instead  to 
cover  them  with  ridicule.  Mr.  Sidney  Buxton,  at 
his  meeting  at  Poplar  on  October  12th  cynically 
called  to  his  women  questioners,  whom  the  stewards 
were  maltreating,  to  "  behave  decorously  like  men." 
That  old  self-styled  "  friend  "  of  Women's  Suffrage, 
Mr.  Haldane,  addressing  a  meeting  of  women 
Liberals  in  Glasgow  *  on  January  8,  1908,  devoted 
the  greater  part  of  his  speech  to  condemning  the 
Suffragettes,  saying  that  men  did  not  like  to  be 
fought  with  "  pin  pricks,"  and  that,  though  women 
might  "  wage  war,"  he  should  advise  them  "  not  to 
do  It  with  bodkins."  At  a  meeting  in  his  own  con- 
stituency, shortly  afterwards,  he  insisted  that  the 
women  who  interrupted  him  should  be  ejected  by  the 
police,  and  when  finally,  with  bruised  and  aching 
limbs  and  torn  and  dishevelled  clothing,  they  had 
all  been  thrown  out  of  the  hall,  he  treated  the  whole 
matter  as  a  joke  saying  that  he  was  *'  bachelor-proof 
against  these  belles."  Mr.  Asquith,  like  the  Prime 
Minister,  was  forced  to  reply  to  a  question  put  to 
him  in  his  own  Scotch  constituency,  at  Tayport,  on 
October  29th.  There  he  said  that,  if  the  vote  were 
granted  to  women  it  would  do  "  more  harm  than 
good,"  and  that  in  any  case,  the  House  of  Com- 
mons is  not  elected  on  a  basis  of  Universal  Suffrage, 
for  "  children  are  not  represented  there."  At  sev- 
eral   meetings,    notably   those   of   Mr.    Asquith    at 

Nuneaton  on  November  i6th,  and  of  Mn  Winston 


Churchill  in  the  historic  Free  Trade  Hall,  the 
stewards  behaved  with  so  much  brutality  that  the 
police  intervened  to  protect  the  women. 

But  though  at  these  gatherings  of  Liberal  parti- 
sans the  women  were  usually  flung  outside  without 
delay,  there  were  still  some  occasions  on  which  the 
audience  rallied  round  them.  Incidents  of  this 
kind  occurred  when  Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone,  now 
frequently  nick-named  "  the  prison  Secretary,'*  spoke 
in  his  constituency  in  Leeds  on  November  2ist  and 
22nd.  On  the  first  night  the  audience  prevented 
the  ejection  of  women  questioners,  and  on  the  second 
Mr.  Gladstone  was  howled  down  by  both  men  and 
women,  and  next  morning  the  papers  stated  in 
startling  headlines  that  the  Home  Secretary  had  been 
"  put  to  flight."  Mr.  Lewis  Harcourt,  the  first 
Commissioner  of  Works,  had  a  similar  experience 
in  his  constituency,  the  Rossendale  Valley,  on  October 
28th.  During  the  day  he  declared  to  a  deputation  of 
women  that  he  was  opposed  to  their  cause  "  because 
he  was."  At  his  evening  meeting  women  protested 
again  so  vigorously  and  in  such  numbers  that  it  was 
broken  up,  and  his  departing  audience  flocked  to  hear 
Mrs.  Pankhurst,  who  was  speaking  from  a  waggon 
outside  the  hall.  On  November  22nd  Mr.  Lloyd 
George  stated  to  a  deputation  of  the  Members  of 
the  old  non-Militant  Glasgow  and  West  of  Scot- 
land Association  for  Women's  Suffrage  that  votes 
could  not  be  granted  to  women  until  the  subject  of 
their  enfranchisement  had  been  made  a  test  ques- 
tion at  a  General  Election,  and  disposed  of  the  con- 
tention that  this  had  already  been  done,  because  over 
four  hundred  Members  of  Parliament  out  of  670  re- 
turned at  the  last  General  Election  had  been  pledged 


to  support  Women's  Suffrage,  by  saying  that  these 
pledges  did  not  count  because  they  had  not  been 
made  to  constituents.  As  unenfranchised  women 
were  no  man's  constituents,  Mr.  Lloyd  George,  there- 
fore, evidently  saw  no  harm  in  the  breaking  of 
promises  that  had  been  made  to  them,  and  he  gave 
no  indication  as  to  how,  whilst  neither  political  party 
was  prepared  to  put  votes  for  women  upon  its 
programme,  women  were  to  make  their  franchise  a 
test  question  at  election  times,  except  either  by  ob- 
taining pledges  from  individual  members  or  by  at- 
tacking the  Government  in  power  as  the  Suffragettes 
were  doing.  He  yet  went  on  to  say  that  he  should 
oppose  "  very  strenuously  any  legislation  that  ex- 
cluded any  class  of  women  from  its  scope,  and  any 
measure  to  enfranchise  women  that  would  not  give 
to  the  working  man's  wife  as  much  voice  in  the  mak- 
ing of  the  laws  of  the  country  as  her  husband  pos- 
sessed." This  meant,  of  course,  that  Mr..  Lloyd 
George  would  "  strenuously  oppose  "  the  Women's 
Enfranchisement  Bill  to  give  women  the  vote  on  the 
same  terms  as  those  upon  which  it  had  already  been 
or  might  in  the  future  be  granted  to  men,  but  he  did 
not  seem  to  realise  that  if  he  meant  what  he  said  and 
wished  to  act  with  honesty,  fairness  and  consistency 
towards  this  great  question,  he  ought  strenuously  to 
oppose  the  s^tatus  quo,  which  not  only  refused  a 
voice  in  the  making  of  the  laws  which  governed  her 
to  the  wife  of  the  working  man  but  to  every  other 
woman  beside. 

On  December  19th  a  strange  drama  was  played 
out  in  Aberdeen.  The  Liberal  officials  of  the  town, 
had  succeeded  in  inducing  the  Suffragettes  to  prom- 
ise not  to  interrupt  Mr.  Asquith,  if  he  would  an- 


swer  the  question  of  one  woman,  and  they  had 
begged  Mrs.  Black,  the  President  of  the  local 
Women's  Liberal  Federation,  to  be  ^  the  woman. 
Mrs.  Black  had  agreed  "  in  the-interests  of  peace," 
as  she  said.  When  she  rose  up  to  comply  with  the 
Liberal  official's  request,  however,  she  was  howled 
at  by  their  enthusiastic  followers  in  the  audience, 
threatened  by  the  stewards  of  the  meeting,  and  told 
by  the  chairman  that  she  was  "  out  of  order,"  al- 
most as  though  she  had  been  a  real  SuflEragette. 
Though  at  last  she  succeeded  in  putting  her  ques- 
tion, Mr.  Asquith  replied  in  snappish  and  hostile 
manner.  Mr.  Alexander  Webster,  a  Unitarian 
Minister  and  well  known  citizen  of  Aberdeen,  a 
slender,  elderly  figure,  with  long  grey  hair  and  the 
face  of  a  saint,  was  afterwards  violently  handled 
for  trying  to  move  a  women's  suffrage  rider  to  the 
official  resolution.  Finally  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  who 
was  seated  at  the  back  of  the  hall,  rose  to  explain 
the  situation  to  the  curious  and  excited  audience,  and 
was  immediately  thrown  out  of  the  hall.  Then  the 
meeting  broke  up  in  disorder.  As  the  Aberdeen 
Free  Press  put  it,  "  Many  a  Liberal  left  the  meet- 
ing with  the  uneasy  feeling  that  the  Suffragettes  had 
had  the  best  of  it."  Nevertheless  the  Suffragettes 
were  loudly  censured  for  these  incidents  especially 
by  those  who  had  consistently  boycotted  the  Suf- 
frage question  when  women  had  worked  quietly  for 
it  in  the  old  days.  In  reply  to  the  critics  Dr.  George 
Cooper,  an  honest  Radical  and  Member  of  Parlia- 
ment for  Bermondsey,  in  the  course  of  a  letter  to 
the  Daily  News  said: 

My  political  life  began  as  a  member  of  the  Reform  League. 
It  is  within  my  recollection  that  in  1867  and  also  in  1884 


very  few  public  speakers  who  were  opposed  to  the  extension 
of  the  Parliamentary  franchise  to  men,  whether  members  of 
the  Cabinet  or  otherwise,  could  utter  a  single  word  at  a 
public  meeting.  Meetings  were  broken  up,  platforms 
stormed  and  their  occupants  had  to  escape  the  best  way  they 
could.  In  1884  every  Tory  speaker  used  against  the  exten- 
sion of  the  franchise  the  same  arguments  now  used  by  some 
Liberal  speakers  and  newspapers  against  the  extension  of  the 
Parliamentary  franchise  to  women,  .  •  .  Why  should 
women  be  condemned  for  using  the  same  weapons  men 
found  so  useful  when  demanding  the  vote  for  themselves? 
.  .  .  Cabinet  Ministers  do  not  recognise  antagonists  using 
any  other.  There  is  one  fact  which  cannot  be  denied.  The 
activity  of  the  Suffragettes  has  lifted  the  Women's  franchise 
Bill  out  of  the  category  of  amusing  and  frivolous  debate  into 
that  of  a  serious  political  question. 

Meanwhile  the  Suffragettes  were  fighting  at  twp 
more  by-elections.  The  first  of  these  was  at  Hull, 
where  polling  took  place  on  November  29th,  the 
result  being  that  the  Liberal  vote  was  reduced  from 
8,652  to  5,623,  and  the  Liberal  majority  from  2,247 
to  241.  The  second  of  these  contests,  one  of  the 
most  striking  at  which  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  has  ever 
fought,  was  at  Mid-Devon.  In  each  of  the  seven 
elections  that  had  occurred  in  this  constituency  since 
its  creation  in  1885  a  Liberal  candidate  had  been 
returned,  the  majority  on  the  last  occasion  having 
numbered  1,289  votes.  The  Suffragettes  at  once 
opened  Committee  Rooms  in  the  main  street  of 
Newton  Abbott,  the  principal  town  in  the  division, 
and  published  a  manifesto  calling  upon  every  elector 
who  wished  to  see  fair  play  for  women  to  vote 
against  the  Liberal  candidate,  and  concluding  "  We 
want  votes  for  women  this  year.     Defeat  the  Gov- 


ernment  In  Mid-Devon  as  a  message  that  women  are 
to  have  votes  in  1908." 

The  contest  was  a  very  trying  one  for  the  work- 
ers, for,  in  addition  to  the  extensive  area  covered  by 
the  constituency,  it  took  place  in  a  season  of  heavy 
snow  falls  and  bitter  winds  which  came  driving  in 
from  the  sea. ,  Besides  this  there  was  a  most  tur- 
bulent variety  of  human  nature  to  contend  with. 
The  Mid-Devon  Elections  had  always  been  notori- 
ous for  their  violent  character  and  the  roughs  of 
Newton  Abbott  had  long  been  a  byword  in  the  dis- 
trict. Early  in  the  campaign  the  speakers  represent- 
ing both  candidates  were  frequently  howled  down 
and  were  unable  to  continue  their  meetings,  and, 
though  on  the  whole  we  fared  very  much  better, 
we  ourselves  had  some  similar  experiences.  On  one 
occasion  some  of  the  Conservatives  had  arranged  to 
speak  at  a  place  called  Bovey  Tracey,  but  they  fled 
away*  on  being  told  that  the  Liberals  of  the  town 
were  not  only  preparing  to  break  up  the  meetings 
of  their  opponents  but  had  even  built  a  cage  in 
which  to  imprison  them.  On  the  same  day  three 
young  members  of  our  Union  had  also  appeared  in 
Bovey  Tracey.  They  too  were  warned  of  the  ter- 
rible cage,  but  decided  to  hold  their  meetings  in  spite 
of  it.  All  went  well  and  they  were  told  by  the  men 
who  met  to  hear  them  that  they  had  no  desire  to 
injure  those  who  trusted  them,  and  that  the  cage 
had  only  been  built  for  cowards.  On  one  occasion 
it  happened  that  Mr.  Buxton,  the  Liberal  candidate, 
and  the  Suffragettes  held  simultaneous  school-room 
meetings  in  the  same  village.  The  Liberal  meetings 
had  been  advertised  several  days  beforehand,  but 
though  ours  was  arranged  on  the  spur  of  the  moment, 


all  the  people  came  to  our  meeting  and  not  a  single 
person  turned  up  to  hear  him. 

As  time  went  on  the  state  of  the  district  became 
more  and  more  turbulent  and  the  great  party  news- 
papers, the  London  Tribune,  Daily  News,  and  others, 
sought  to  stir  up  the  wildest  and  most  unrestrained 
element  in  the  constituency.  The  Daily  News 
hailed  with  enthusiasm  the  formation  of  what  was 
known  as  the  **  League  of  Young  Liberals,"  which 
was  in  reality  a  gang  of  young  roughs  whose  first 
act  was  to  push  a  policeman  through  the  plate  glass 
window  of  the  shop  which  served  as  our  Committee 
Rooms.  This  and  other  violent  acts  were  described 
by  the  Daily  News  as  **  diverting  incidents  with  the 
Suffragettes,"  but  the  special  correspondent  of  the 
Daily  Mail,  said: 

Miss  Mary  Gawthorpe,  who  usually  has  no  difficulty  in 
maintaining  good-humoured  relations  with  audiences  of  every 
class,  was  not  only  compelled  to  hear  language  from  some  of 
the  Newton  Abbot  Liberal  partisans  that  brought  a  flush 
to  her  face  and  tears  into  her  eyes,  but  had  to  resist  by 
force  the  efforts  of  one  man  to  mount  the  waggon  from  which 
she  and  several  other  ladies  were  speaking.  And  the  most 
pitiful  part  of  the  business  was  that  the  language  and  the 
conduct  seemed  to  be  regarded  by  their  perpetrators  as  en- 
gaging little  gallantries,  appropriate  to  be  offered  to  a  lady. 

A  few  days  later  the  roughs  dragged  the  lorry  in 

which  our  women  were  speaking  round  and  round 
with  such  violence  that  it  was  feared  that  it  would 
be  overturned,  and  they  only  stopped  when  a  little 
boy  had  been  run  over  and  trampled  upon  and  seri- 
ously injured.  Still  the  Liberal  politicians  made 
no  protest.     Mr.  Buxton's  reply  to  a  newspaper  cor- 


respondent  who  asked  him  what  he  thought  of  the 
disorder  was :  "  You  must  remember  that  they  are 
keen  politicians  down  here.  From  the  fact  that 
Mid-Devon  has  had  three  elections  within  the  space 
of  four  years  the  people  have  necessarily  heard  a 
great  deal  about  politics." 

So  the  contest  went  on  —  Liberals  and  Conserv- 
atives smashing  up  each  other's  meetings,  howling 
each  other  down,  pelting  each  other  with  vegetables 
from  the  market  and  snowballing  each  other  on  Dart- 
moor. The  Daily  Telegraph  for  January  loth, 
writing  in  regard  to  a  Liberal  meeting,  threatened 
that,  if  the  Unionists  were  not  admitted,  the  building 
would  be  stormed. 

When  on  January  17th  the  poll  was  declared  it 
was  found  that  the  Liberal  candidate  had  been  de- 
feated. Everyone  was  surprised  except  the  Suffra- 
gettes.    The  figures  were : 

Captain  Morrison  Bell  (U.) 5,191 

Mr.  C.  R.  Buxton  (L.) 4,632 

Unionist  majority 559 

At  the  General  Election  the  figures  had  been : 

Mr.  H.  T.  Eve,  K.C.  (L.) 5,079 

Captain  Morrison  Bell  (U.) 3,790 

Liberal  Majority 1,280 

After  the  declaration  of  the  poll  Mrs.  Pankhurst 
and  Mrs.  Martel,  the  only  members  of  the  Suffra- 
gette band  left  in  the  storm  centre  of  Newton  Abbott, 
saw  Captain  Morrison  Bell  escorted  from  the 
Market  Square  by  a  strong  force  of  police,  and  were 


themselves  urged  to  hurry  away  and  leave  the  town 
at  once.  The  warning  seemed  to  them  absurd,  and 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  laughingly  said  that  she  had  never 
yet  been  afraid  to  trust  herself  in  a  crowd.  Im- 
mediately afterwards  she  and  her  companion  met  a 
procession  of  young  men  and  boys  wearing  the  Lib- 
eral colours,  who  were  hurrying  from  their  work  in 
the  clay  pits.  As  soon  as  they  heard  that  the  Liberal 
had  been  defeated,  one  of  them  pointed  to  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  and  Mrs.  Martel:  "Those  women  have 
done  it."  Then  the  whole  crowd  of  them  started 
running  and  from  somewhere  or  other  there  came  a 
shower  of  rotten  eggs.  The  two  women  were  com- 
pletely taken  by  surprise,  and,  more  anxious  to  avoid 
the  eggs  than  the  angry  crowd,  they  rushed  into  a 
grocer's  shop,  whilst  a  big  brewer's  drayman,  who 
had  been  standing  by  jumped  into  the  doorway  and 
fought  their  assailants  off  until  they  were  safe.  The 
men  and  boys  outside  howled  as  their  prey  escaped 
them,  and  the  people  to  whom  the  shop  belonged, 
though  anxious  to  protect  the  women,  cried  out  de- 
spairingly that  the  windows  would  be  broken  in. 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  at  once  said  that  she  could  not  bear 
to  be  the  cause  of  loss  to  those  who  had  sheltered 
her,  and  at  her  own  request  she  and  Mrs.  Martel 
were  led  through  a  back  door  and  across  a  yard 
leading  to  a  narrow  lane  behind,  whence  it  was 
thought  that  they  would  be  able  to  escape.  As  soon 
as  the  door  had  been  shut  upon  them,  their  assailants 
who  had  guessed  their  movements  came  rushing  up. 
Mrs.  Martel  was  seized  by  one  who  caught  her  by 
the  throat  and  began  to  beat  her  about  the  head, 
but  in  a  flash  the  shopkeeper's  wife  had  heard  the 
noise  and  had  opened  the  door  again  and,  somehow 


or  other,  she  and  Mrs.  Pankhurst  had  rescued  Mrs. 
Martel  and  had  dragged  her  into  the  yard.  The 
door  was  shut  and  safely  bolted  in  all  haste,  but  just 
as  it  closed,  a  man  struck  Mrs.  Pankhurst  a  heavy 
blow  on  the  back  of  the  head,  and,  as  she  staggered 
on  the  threshold,  pulled  her  back  and  she  was  left 
outside.  Then  the  men  gave  an  angry  shout,  and 
one  of  them,  seizing  her  by  the  collar  of  her  coat  and 
by  her  wrists,  flung  her  to  the  ground.  She  caught 
a  glimpse  of  them  all  rushing  on  her,  then  for  a  time 
she  knew  nothing  until  she  felt  the  wet  mud  soaking 
through  her  clothes.  There  was  a  pause.  As  she 
lay  there  looking  at  them,  she  saw  that  they  had  all 
closed  round  her  in  a  ring,  and  that  in  the  centre 
was  an  empty  barrel.  "  Are  they  going  to  put  me 
into  it?"  The  thought  flashed  through  her  mind. 
Hours  seemed  to  pass  as  she  watched  them,  all 
dressed  in  drab-coloured  clothes,  smeared  with  yel- 
low clay,  and  every  one  wearing  a  red  Liberal 
rosette.  They  all  seemed  to  be  puny  half-grown 
youths,  and  without  knowing  why  she  did  so,  she 
asked,  "  Are  there  no  men  here?  "  For  an  instant 
they  still  stood.  Then  one  of  them  came  forward, 
and  she  felt  that  whatever  was  to  be  done  to  her  was 
about  to  begin,  but  suddenly  there  was  a  shout,  and 
the  police  came  galloping  up  with  a  crowd  of  res- 
cuers at  their  heels.  Her  assailants  turned  tail,  and 
she  was  lifted  up  and  carried  back  through  the  yard 
into  the  shop.  A.  large  force  of  police  now  sur- 
rounded the  premises,  but  a  great  crowd  had  as- 
sembled, and  it  was  two  hours  before  a  motor  car 
could  be  brought  through  it  and  the  women  were 
able  to  get  away.  The  disorder  did  not  end  here, 
for   the   rowdies   flocked   thence   to   the    Conserva- 


tive  Club,  smashed  every  one  of  its  windows,  and 
kept  its  members  besieged  there  all  through  the 
night.  Next  morning  the  body  of  Sergeant  Major 
Kendall  of  the  Royal  Marines,  an  ex-Instructor  of 
the  Newton  Abbot  College,  was  found  in  the  mill 
race.  Foul  play  was  suspected,  as  he  had  been 
severely  bruised  about  the  head.  Throughout  this 
violent  disturbance  not  a  single  arrest  was  made. 
During  the  whole  course  of  the  election  but  one  man 
was  fined  five  shillings  and  costs  for  assaulting  one  of 
his  political  opponents.  Well  indeed  might  the 
Suffragettes  say  that  the  treatment  meted  out  to  them 
was  very  different  from  that  extended  to  men  who 
were  fighting  on  the  Government  side. 

As  a  result  of  the  attack  which  had  been  made 
upon  her,  Mrs.  Pankhurst  was  unable  to  walk  for 
some  considerable  time,  and  her  ankle  was  so 
severely  injured  that  it  gave  her  trouble  for  more 
than  a  year,  whilst  owing  to  the  treatment  she  re- 
ceived Mrs.  Martel  will  probably  always  bear  a 
scar  upon  her  neck.  Scarcely  a  word  of  regret  for 
the  violence  which  had  been  done  to  these  two  women 
ever  appeared  in  the  Liberal  newspapers,  who  were 
so  largely  to  blame  for  what  had  occurred.  After  the 
election  was  over  the  Conservative  politicians 
claimed  that  they  alone  had  kept  out  the  Liberal 
and  the  Liberals  also  preferred  to  attribute  their 
defeat  to  the  Tariff  Reformers  rather  than  to  the 
Suffragettes.  Only  one  of  the  Liberal  newspapers, 
the  Manchester  Guardian  admitted  both  during  and 
after  the  election  that  the  woman's  question  had 
played  a  decisive  part.  The  Special  Correspond- 
ent of  this  paper,  in  the  issue  of  January  20th, 


I  think  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  Suffragettes  did 
influence  votes.  Their  activity,  the  interest  shown  in  their 
meetings,  the  success  of  their  persuasive  methods  in  enlisting 
the  popular  sympathy,  the  large  number  of  working  women 
who  acted  with  them  as  volunteers,  these  were  features  of 
the  election  which,  although  strangely  ignored  by  most  of 
the  newspapers,  must  have  struck  most  visitors  to  the  con- 

An  amusing  proof  that  the  Liberals  in  the  district 
had  considered  the  Suffragettes  to  be  very  formidable 
opponents  came  to  light  in  the  following  mock 
mourning  card  which  had  been  got  out  in  expecta- 
tion of  the  Liberal  victory. 

In  Fond  and  Loving  Memory 

of  the 


Who   fell   asleep   at   Mid-Devon   on   January    17th, 


The  Suffragettes  and  Tariff  Reformers  are  now  very 

And  should  see  it's  no  use  contesting  Mid-Devon  any 

more ; 
And  the  Hooligans  of  Shaldon  you  can  send  over  and 

That  a  strong  and  Buxton  Liberal  has  broken  their 




Meanwhile  the  Suffragettes  were  fighting  the  Gov- 
ernment at  three  other  elections  —  at  South  Here- 


ford  (Ross),  Worcester,  and  South  Leeds.  The 
result  of  the  Poll  at  Ross  was  that  the  Liberal 
majority  of  312  was  turned  into  a  Conservative  ma- 
jority of  over  1,000.     The  figures  were: 

Captain  Clive  (U.) 4»945 

Mr.  Whitely  Thompson  (L.) 3,928 

Unionist  majority 1,019 

The  figures  at  the  general  election  had  been : 

Lieut.-CoI.  Alan  C.  Gardner  (L.) 4,497 

Capt.  Percy  A.  Clive  (U.) 4,185 

Liberal  majority 312 



Calls  Upon  Cabinet  Ministers.  The  Third 
Women's  Parliament.  The  Pantechnicon  Van 
Stratagem.  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  First  Arrest.  Mr. 
Dickinson's  Bill,  the  First  Albert  Hall  Meeting 


Incidents  in  the  Votes  for  Women  campaign 
now  followed  each  other  with  such  rapidity  that  they 
defy  the  chronicler  who  wishes  to  note  them  down. 
Because  vigorous  militancy  was  the  order  of  the  day, 
the  Press  teemed  with  articles  upon  the  abstract 
question  of  Votes  for  Women  and  with  notices 
of  the  doings  of  the  Suffragettes.  *'  SUF- 
These  and  others  of  the  same  nature,  were  the 
startling  headlines  that  one  saw  in  the  evening  papers 
on  January  17th  and  in  the  morning  papers  of  the 
following  day.  It  was  merely  that  Mrs.  Drum- 
mond  and  a  number  of  other  members  of  our  Union, 
knowing  that  the  Cabinet  was  sitting  to  decide  upon 
the  questions  which  should  find  a  place  in  the  legis- 
lative programme  of  the   forthcoming  session  had 



made  an  attempt  to  urge  upon  them  the  necessity  of 
dealing  with  the  women's  claim. 

Whilst  Press  representatives  were  congregating 
in  Downing  Street,  to  snapshot  the  Ministers  and 
to  gain  material  for  foolish  paragraphs  describing 
their  appearance  and  manner  of  arrival  at  the  first 
Cabinet  Council  of  the  Season,  and  whilst  police 
were  assembling  to  dance  attendance  upon  the  Prime 
Minister  and  his  colleagues,  three  or  four  of  the 
Women  appeared  to  demand  an  interview.  The 
police  pulled  them  aside  and  the  Cabinet  Ministers 
brushed  past  as  they  tried  to  speak,  and  when  they 
applied  at  the  door  of  the  official  residence,  no 
notice  was  taken.  Then  Miss  New,  well  knowing 
that  her  words  would  be  heard  both  inside  the  House 
and  by  the  crowd  that  was  collecting  in  the  street, 
began  to  make  a  speech  explaining  what  she  and 
her  friends  had  come  for.  Before  beginning,  she 
chained  herself  to  the  railings  beside  the  Prime 
Minister's  front  door,  both  symbolically  to  express 
the  political  bondage  of  womanhood,  and  for  the 
very  practical  reason  that  this  device  would  prevent 
her  being  dragged  speedily  away.  Her  example 
was  followed  by  Nurse  Olivia  Smith  and,  whilst  the 
police  were  struggling  to  break  the  double  set  of 
chains,  a  taxi-cab  drove  up  and  stopped  on  the  op- 
posite side  of  the  street.  Suspecting  more  Suf- 
fragettes, some  of  the  constables  rushed  to  the  door 
of  the  cab  which  opened  on  to  the  pavement.  At 
the  same  moment,  Mrs.  Drummond  (for  it  was 
she  who  had  devised  this  stratagem),  opened  the 
cab  door  on  the  road  side  and  bounded  across  to 
the  sacred  Residence,  where,  as  there  was  no  one  to 
bar  her  progress  and  as  she  now  possessed  the  secret 


of  the  little  knob  in  the  centre  of  the  door,  she  was 
inside  and  very  near  to  the  Council  Chamber  itself, 
before  a  number  of  men,  some  of  whom  she  believed 
to  be  Cabinet  Ministers,  though  owing  to  the  vio- 
lent and  hurried  nature  of  her  ejection  it  was  im- 
possible to  make  quite  sure,  rushed  upon  her,  and 
she  was  flung  out  and  hurled  down  the  steps.  She 
was  then  arrested,  and  shortly  afterwards  she  and 
four  of  her  comrades  found  themselves  before  Sir 
Albert  de  Rutzen  at  Bow  Street  Police  Court, 
charged  with  disorderly  conduct.  They  were  found 
guilty  and  on  refusing  to  be  bound,  were  sent  to 
prison  for  three  weeks.  Instead  of  placing  them 
in  the  first  division,  as  had  been  done  in  the  case 
of  all  the  Suffragettes  since  the  transfer  of  Mrs. 
Cobden  Sanderson  and  the  rest  of  us  had  taken  place 
in  October,  1906,  the  authorities  reverted  to  the  old 
plan  of  putting  them  in  the  second  class. 

On  January  29th  the  King  opened  Parliament  in 
great  state,  and  four  members  of  the  Women's  Free- 
dom League  rushed  in  to  the  Royal  Procession  and 
attempted  to  present  him  with  a  Petition,  but  were 
dragged  back  and  hustled  aside  by  the  soldiery  and 
police.  The  King's  speech  did  not  contain  any  men- 
tion of  Votes  for  Women,  and  the  Women's  Social 
and  Political  Union  was  already  preparing  to  confer 
upon  the  subject  at  a  Women's  Parliament  to  be  held 
in  the  Caxton  Hall  on  February  i  ith,  12th,  and  13th. 
In  the  meantime  the  Members  of  the  Women's 
Freedom  League  had  determined  to  make  an  imme- 
diate protest,  and  the  day  after  the  opening  of  Par- 
liament they  set  out  to  interview  six  members  of  the 
Cabinet.  Three  of  the  ladies,  Dr.  Helen  Bourchier, 
Mrs.  Kennindale  Cook,  a  well  known  novelist,  and 


Miss  Munro,  a  Scotch  woman  from  Sir  Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman's  constituency,  visited  Mr.  ' 
Haldane  at  his  house  at  Queen  Anne's  Gate  at 
9 :30.  They  agreed  with  the  butler  to  wait  outside 
until  Mr.  Haldane  could  see  them,  but  the  Secretary 
of  State  for  War  telephoned  to  the  police,  who  soon 
appeared  in  force  and  placed  the  women  under  ar- 
rest. The  same  sort  of  thing  happened  at  the  houses 
of  Sir  Edward  Grey,  Mr.  Harcourt  and  Captain 
Sinclair.  Altogether  seven  women  were  arrested  and 
sentenced  to  terms  of  imprisonment  varying  from 
two  to  six  weeks. 

In  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day  Mr.  Asquith 
received  a  deputation  from  the  National  Union  of 
Women's  Suffrage  Societies.  He  then  definitely  said 
that  the  Government  would  not  introduce  a  Vote 
for  Women  measure  on  their  own  account  and  also 
refused  to  hold  out  any  hope  that  the  Government 
would  allow  of  the  passage  of  a  private  Member's 
Bill.  As  they  left  the  Treasury  offices  the  so-called 
"  Constitutional "  Suffragists  agreed  that  Mr.  As- 
quith's  remarks  would  merely  serve  to  incite  the  Suf- 
fragettes to  further  militancy. 

They  judged  rightly,  for  the  next  day  nine  mem- 
bers of  the  Women's  Freedom  League  called  at  Mr. 
Asquith's  house  at  No.  20,  Cavendish  Square,  and, 
on  being  refused  an  interview  with  him,  decorated 
his  area  railings  with  "  Votes  for  Women " 
banners  and  bills,  and,  using  his  topmost  doorstep 
as  a  platform,  proceeded  to  address  a  crowd  of  some 
seventy  persons  that  had  collected.  Four  arrests 
were  the  result.  The  women  were  brought 
up  before  Mr.  Plowden  at  Marylebone  Police  Court 
^nd  claimed  the  right  to  speak  in  their  own  defence, 


but  Dr.  Helen  Bourchier,  the  first  who  uttered  a 
word,  was  stopped  by  the  would-be  witty  Mr. 
Plowden,  who  said  rudely  '*  Behave  yourself  I 
You  are  the  bell-weather  of  the  flock."  He  then 
declared  all  the  women  guilty  of  obstruction,  and 
ordered  them  either  to  pay  fines  of  forty  shillings 
or  to  undergo  one  month's  imprisonment  in  the 
Second  Division,  saying  that  he  wanted  them  to  un- 
derstand that  if  they  thought  the  punishment  light, 
it  was  because  it  was  all  that  the  Law  allowed  him 
to  give  them,  and  adding  **  I  do  not  consider  it  by 
any  means  a  fair  measure  of  your  deserts.'* 

Meanwhile  the  reversion  to  the  policy  of  treat- 
ing the  Suffragettes  as  ordinary  criminals  instead  of 
according  to  them  the  treatment  usually  meted  out 
to  political  prisoners,  was  being  raised  in  both 
Houses  of  Parliament.  Earl  Russell  and  others 
urged  the  government  that  **  the  blood  of  the 
martyrs  is  the  seed  of  the  Church,"  but  the  Govern- 
ment were  deaf  alike  to  appeal  and  warning. 

The  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  had  long 
realised  this,  and  when  the  third  Women's  Parlia- 
ment met  in  the  Caxton  Hall  on  February  nth, 
1908,  it  did  so  with  all  the  splendid  courage  and 
enthusiasm  for  militant  action  that  had  characterised 
its  predecessors.  It  was  now  known  that  an  ex- 
cellent place  in  the  private  Members  ballot  had  been 
won,  and  on  the  Women's  Bill,  by  Mr.  Stanger,  a 
Liberal,  and  it  was  realised  that  before  February 
28th,  when  the  Bill  was  to  come  up  for  second 
reading,  strong  pressure  must  be  brought  to  bear 
upon  the  Government  to  prevent  this  Bill  being 
wrecked  as  that  of  Mr.  Dickinson  had  been  in  the 
previous  year.     It  was  therefore  with  an  added  sense 


of  immediate  pressing  necessity  that  the  women  set 
out  unflinchingly  for  the  old  hard  fight  with  over- 
whelming force.  The  motion  to  carry  the  usual 
resolution  to  the  Prime  Minister  was  moved  by  Miss 
Marie  Naylor  and  Miss  Florence  Haig  both  London 
Members  of  the  Union  and  both  Chelsea  portrait 
painters,  and  then  the  whole  Hall  seemed  to  rock 
with  the  noise  of  the  cheers  as  the  majority  of  the 
women  present  sprang  up  to  form  a  deputation. 

Meanwhile  an  extraordinary  scene  had  taken  place 
close  to  the  Strangers'  Entrance  to  the  House  of 
Commons.  It  had  been  anticipated,  of  course,  that 
the  Suffragettes  would  make  an  attempt  to  lay  their 
Resolution  before  the  Prime  Minister  and  a  great 
force  of  Police  was  massed  in  readiness  before  the 
House.  Just  about  four  o'clock  as  the  long  lines  of 
men  in  their  dark-blue  uniform  waited  there,  two 
furniture  removal  vans  slowly  approached,  coming  up 
Victoria  Street  and  round  by  the  green  which  sur- 
rounds the  Abbey  and  St.  Margaret's  Church,  as 
though  they  were  about  to  make  their  way  past  the 
House  of  Commons  and  along  Millbank  towards  the 
Tate  Gallery  and  Westminster  Embankment.  The 
first  van  went  slowly  by  the  House,  the  second 
crawled  leisurely  in  its  wake  and  along  the  back  ledge 
of  the  second  van  lay  a  sleepy-looking  boy,  his  eyes 
idly  fixed  upon  a  little  man  sauntering  along  the 
pavement  some  distance  away.  Just  as  this  van 
was  passing  the  Strangers'  Entrance  the  little  man 
dropped  a  handkerchief,  then  suddenly  the  boy 
sprang  from  the  ledge,  the  back  doors  of  the  van 
flew  open  wide,  and  one-and-twenty  women  plunged 
out  and  made  a  rush  for  the  House  of  Commons. 
They  were  blinded  by  the  broad  daylight  after  their 


long  ride  in  the  darkness  of  the  van,  and  as  they 
jumped,  many  of  them  fell  on  their  knees  and  grop- 
ing helplessly,  ran  the  wrong  way.  Nevertheless  there 
were  some  who  headed  straight  for  the  door-way  and 
two  of  them  managed  to  get  inside,  only  to  be  flung 
back  instantly,  whilst  the  police  closed  round  and 
several  arrests  were  made. 

Meanwhile  the  body  of  women  who  had  engaged 
to  carry  the  Resolution  to  the  Prime  Minister,  had 
emerged  from  the  Caxton  Hall,  and  having  formed 
up  four  abreast  in  orderly  procession,  had  begun  to 
move  quietly  forward  towards  the  House  of  Com- 
mons. Large  crowds  had  gathered  to  see  them 
whilst  the  police  were  drawn  up  on  either  side  of 
the  road,  and  at  one  point  formed  a  line  across  the 
thoroughfare.  The  constables  pushed  and  jostled 
the  women  for  some  time  without  altogether  pre- 
venting their  passage,  but  at  Broad  Sanctuary,  a  large 
contingent  of  police  entirely  blocked  the  way.  Un- 
daunted, the  women  pressed  forward,  and  the 
crowds,  some  with  the  idea  of  helping  the  Suffra- 
gettes, others  from  curiosity,  pressed  forward  too. 
The  police  charged  again  and  again,  and  there  was 
grave  danger  that  someone  would  be  trampled  un- 
der foot.  When  at  last  the  streets  were  cleared,  it 
was  found  that  some  fifty  women  had  been  arrested, 
amongst  these  Miss  Marie  Naylor  and  Miss  Florence 
Haig,  Georgina  and  Marie  Brackenbury,  both  of 
them  painters,  and  nieces  of  General  Sir  Henry 
Brackenbury,  and  Miss  Maud  Joachim,  niece  of  the 
great  violinist. 

The  Suffragette  cases  came  on  next  morning  be- 
fore Mr.  Horace  Smith  at  the  Westminster  Police 
Court,  Mr.  Muskett,  who  prosecuted  on  behalf  of 


the  police,  then  announced  that  on  this  occasion 
the  authorities  had  decided  as  before  to  prosecute 
under  the  Prevention  of  Crimes  Amendment  Act  of 
1885,  which  enabled  the  Magistrate  to  inflict  a  fine 
of  £5  or,  in  default,  to  order  imprisonment  with 
or  without  hard  labour  for  two  months.  Throw- 
ing down  a  remarkable  challenge  to  the  women,  he 
added  that  there  were  greater  and  stronger  powers 
in  reserve  which  could  be  enforced  to  put  down  dis- 
order, for  there  was  still  upon  the  Statute  Book 
an  Act  passed  in  the  reign  of  Charles  II  which  dealt 
with  "  Tumultuous  Petitions  either  to  the  Crown  or 
Parliament."  He  recalled  the  fact  that  it  had 
been  stated  by  the  judge  at  the  time  of  the  Lord 
George  Gordon  riots  that  that  Act  was  still  good 
law,  and,  he  said,  that  the  dictum  still  applied.  The 
Act  of  Charles  II  provided  that 

No  person  whatever  shall  repair  to  His  Majesty  or  both 
or  either  of  the  Houses  of  Parliament  upon  pretence  of  pre- 
senting or  delivering  any  petition,  complaint,  remonstrance 
or  declaration  or  other  address  accompanied  with  an  exces- 
sive number  of  people,  nor  at  any  one  time  with  above  the 
number  of  twelve  persons. 

Penalties  might  be  enforced  under  this  Act  up  to 
a  fine  of  £100  or  three  months'  imprisonment.  In 
holding  forth  this  threat  to  women  who  might 
demonstrate  in  the  future,  Mr.  Muskett  again  ap- 
pealed to  the  Magistrate  to  deal  with  those  who 
were  now  charged  with  all  the  rigour  which  he 
would  apply  to  ordinary  law-breakers. 

The  prisoners  were  then  one  by  one  brought  in. 
Georgina  Brackenbury,  tall,  fair,  and  well  featured, 
was  the  first  to  be  put  into  the  dock.  The  Magis- 
trate affected  to  take  scant  interest  in  the  case,  and 


in  spite  of  her  own  splendid  courtesy  of  manner,  ad- 
dressed her  with  pettish  rudeness,  and  finally  inter- 
rupted her  statement  with  **  That  is  all  nonsense/' 
The  whole  of  the  proceedings  were  conducted  in 
the  same  spirit.  But  two  women  out  of  the  fifty 
had  been  imprisoned  before,  and  these .  two,  Mrs. 
Rigby,  the  wife  of  a  doctor  in  Preston,  and  Mrs. 
Titterington,  as  "  old  offenders,"  were  ordered 
either  to  pay  fines  of  £5  or  to  suffer  one  month's 
imprisonment  in  the  third  and  lowest  class.  The 
other  forty-seven  women  were  ordered  to  be  bound 
over  in  two  sureties  of  £20  to  keep  the  peace  for 
twelve  months  or  to  serve  six  weeks'  imprisonment  in 
the  second  Division.  With  the  exception  of  two, 
whose  absence  from  home  was  found  to  be  impossible 
owing  to  the  serious  illness  of  relatives,  all  the 
women  chose  imprisonment. 

All  these  things  were  of  course  largely  discussed 
in  the  Press.  The  furniture  van  incident  attracted 
the  greatest  attention,  and  the  van  itself  was  likened 
by  almost  every  newspaper  to  the  wooden  horse  of 
Troy.     The  Daily  Chronicle  said: 

The  Suffragettes  are  essentially  heroic.  First  they  lash 
themselves  to  the  Premier's  railings;  now  borrowing  an  idea 
from  the  Trojan  horse,  they  burst  forth  from  a  pantechnicon 
van.  ...  A  high  standard  of  artifice  has  been  set  and 
it  should  be  maintained.  The  Trojan  horse  would  have 
been  of  no  use  if  it  had  remained  outside  the  walls,  and 
though  curiosity  could  never  be  expected  to  prompt  Mem- 
bers to  drag  a  deserted  pantechnicon  into  the  House,  there 
must  be  occasions  when  a  large-sized  packing  case  is  taken 
into  St.  Stephen's. 

The  Glasgow  Evening  Times  called  for  a  poet 
of  Hudibrastic  gifts  to  rise  and  embody  in  heroic 


verse  the  deeds  of  the  Suffragettes,  and  asserted  that 
*'  The  daring  attack  yesterday  evening  on  that 
citadel  of  democratic  liberty,  the  House  of  Com- 
mons, is  of  itself  sufficient  to  inspire  a  Homer,  or 
at  least  a  Peter  Pindar."  The  Evening  News  said 
that  until  the  Suffragettes  had  outwitted  the  police- 
men by  the  use  of  the  furniture  van,  they  had  never 
believed  in  the  story  of  the  Trojan  horse,  now  they 
knew  it  to  be  quite  possible  after  all. 

In  the  Women's  Parliament  it  was  the  more  seri- 
ous side  of  the  case  that  appealed  to  us.  5Ve  saw 
that  the  Government  were  preparing  still  further  to 
resist  our  just  and  moderate  demands,  and  rather 
than  concede  them  were  even  ready  to  revive  an- 
cient coercive  Statutes  which  the  customs  and  princi- 
ples of  modern  times  had  caused  to  fall  into  disuse. 
This  Act  of  Charles  II,  with  which  they  had  threat- 
ened us,  had  originally  been  passed  to  obstruct 
the  growth  of  the  Liberal  Party,  which  first 
came  into  existence  in  Stuart  times.  It  was  the 
political  descendants  of  those  very  Liberals  who 
would  now  use  this  coercive  Statute  against  their 
countrywomen.  Well  might  Christabel  Pankhurst 
ask  in  the  Women's  Parliament,  **  What  would  have 
been  said  If  a  Tory  Government  had  done  this 
thing?"  "This  takes  us  back  to  stirring  times, 
ladles,"  she  told  the  women.  "  At  last  it  is  realised 
that  women  are  fighting  for  freedom  as  their  fathers 
fought.  ...  If  they  want  twelve  women,  aye, 
and  more  than  twelve,  if  a  hundred  women  are 
wanted  to  be  tried  under  that  Act  and  to  be  sent 
to  prison  for  three  months  they  can  be  found." 

There  was  no  militant  demonstration  on  that  day, 
but   everyone   knew   that  something   more   was    to 


happen,  and  on  Thursday  afternoon,  the  13th  of 
February,  when  the  Women's  Parliament  met  for  its 
concluding  session,  a  feeling  of  most  extraordinary 
excitement  prevailed.  Mrs.  Pankhurst  had  just  re- 
turned from  the  by-election  at  South  Leeds,  and  the 
audience  listened  eagerly  to  her  account  of  the  cam- 
paign, and  especially  to  the  story  of  the  torchlight 
procession  and  the  wonderful  meeting  of  100,000 
people  on  Hunslett  Moor.  In  spite  of  the  fact  that 
police  protection  had  been  refused  at  the  last  mo- 
ment, there  had  been  no  disorder,  only  sympathy  and 
enthusiasm  all  along  the  route,  whilst  the  vast  crowds 
that  parted  to  let  the  procession  through  had  joined 
on  to  it  and  added  to  its  numbers  from  behind,  and 
some  of  the  women  had  constantly  called  out  in 
broad  Yorkshire:  "  Shall  us  have  the  vote?  "  to  be 
answered  by  others  with  cries  of  *'  we  shall." 

I  have  come  to  London,  Mrs.  Pankhurst  concluded, 
feeling,  as  I  have  never  felt  before,  the  seriousness  of  this 
struggle.  I  feel  that  the  time  has  come  when  I  must  act, 
and  I  wish  to  volunteer  to  be  one  of  those  to  carry  our  Reso- 
lution to  Parliament  this  afternoon.  My  experience  in  the 
country  and  especially  in  South  Leeds  has  taught  me  things 
that  Cabinet  Ministers  who  have  not  that  experience  do  not 
know,  and  has  made  me  feel  that  I  must  make  one  final 
attempt  to  see  them  and  to  urge  them  to  reconsider  their 
position  before  some  terrible  disaster  has  occurred. 

Then,  amid  some  emotional  excitement  and  cries 
of  "  Mrs  Pankhurst  must  not  go,"  "  We  cannot 
spare  our  leader  " —  cries  which  were  calmly  set 
aside  by  practical  business-like  Christabel,  who  an- 
nounced that  the  deputation  was  definitely  chosen  and 
that  its  thirteen  members  were  all  prepared  to  be  ar- 
rested and  tried  under  the  Charles  II   Act  —  the 


Resolution  was  carried  and  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Annie 
Kenney,  and  eleven  other  women  marched  out  of 
the  hall,  whilst  almost  the  whole  of  the  audience 
flocked  into  the  corridor  and  stood  around  the  door- 
way to  watch  them  go. 

Mrs.  Pankhurst  had  been  lamed  in  the  cowardly 
attack  that  had  been  made  upon  her  at  Mid-Devon, 
and  had  not  yet  recovered.  Seeing  this  Mrs.  Drum- 
mond  ran  forward  to  get  a  conveyance.  She  saw 
none  for  hire,  but  called  to  a  man  in  a  private  dog- 
cart and  asked  him  if  he  would  drive  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst to  the  House  of  Commons.  He  agreed,  and 
the  other  women  formed  up  on  foot  behind  the 
vehicle  two  and  two  abreast.  The  police  were  al- 
ready massed  around  in  great  force  and  the  little 
procession  had  moved  but  a  few  slow  steps  when 
a  Police  Inspector  came  forward  and  Insisted  that 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  should  dismount.  She  instantly 
obeyed  the  order,  signing  to  her  companions  not  to 
protest.  The  twelve  women  of  the  deputation  at 
the  same  time  hurried  forward  to  re-form  In  double 
line  behind  their  leader,  but  the  Inspector  and  his 
men  dragged  them  apart.  Then  the  deputation, 
hemmed  in  by  men,  women  and  police  on  every  side, 
proceeded  In  single  file  as  far  as  Chapel  Street. 
There  the  Inspector  said  they  must  not  walk  In  pro- 
cession. They  therefore  broke  Into  twos  and  threes, 
but  when  they  came  to  the  entrance  of  Victoria 
Street  the  police  entirely  barred  the  way,  and  It  was 
only  after  a  considerable  struggle  that  they  were 
able  to  gain  the  main  thoroughfare.  There  a 
vast  concourse  of  people  had  assembled  and  right 
in  the  midst  of  it  one  saw  Mrs.  Pankhurst  wear- 
ing  a    long   loose    cloak   whose    light    grey   colour 


made  her  figure  stand  out  from  the  darkly  clad 
men  around.  She  came  forward  with  Mrs.  Baldock 
clinging  to  her  arm,  and  tall,  pretty,  smiling  young 
Gladice  Keevil,  her  face  a  little  flushed  and  her  soft 
hair  blowing  a  little  in  the  wind,  walking  on  the 
other  side,  and  with  the  great  crowd  following  and 
filling  the  whole  street  around. 

Scattered  amongst  the  people  behind  and  moving 
forward  either  singly  or  in  twos,  the  rest  of  the 
deputation  followed.  Close  to  Westminster  Palace 
Hotel  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  who  up  to  this  point  had 
followed  in  the  wake  of  a  Police  Inspector  and 
carefully  obeyed  all  the  instructions  of  the  police, 
was  arrested  and  taken  through  Parliament  Square 
on  the  side  furthest  from  the  House  in  the  strong 
grip  of  two  burly  policemen.  Clad  in  her  heavy 
travelling  cloak,  her  face  had  grown  white  with  ex- 
haustion, and  she  was  evidently  in  pain,  but  no  heed 
was  paid  to  her  lameness,  and  she  was  hurried  along 
at  a  brisk  trot,  and  at  last  disappeared  down  the 
narrow  lane  at  the  top  of  Bridge  Street  which  leads 
to  Canon  Row  Police  Station.  Mrs.  Baldock  and 
Gladice  Keevil,  who  had  refused  to  leave  her,  had 
for  this  cause  been  arrested  and  almost  immediately 
afterwards  Annie  Kenney  was  also  taken  into  cus- 
tody. Later  on  the  same  fate  befell  Mrs.  Kerwood 
of  Birmingham  and  five  others,  some  of  whom  were 
not  members  of  the  deputation. 

Whilst  this  was  happening,  the  Women's  Parlia- 
ment was  still  in  session,  and  every  now  and  then 
someone  returned  from  the  battle  to  describe  how 
events  were  going.  Before  the  meeting  closed  our 
ever  thoughtful  Treasurer,  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence, 
urged  all  not  on  the  fighting  line  to  subscribe  to  the 



war  chest.  More  than  £400  had  been  raised  when 
the  prisoners  came  back  to  us  on  bail  at  the  rising  of 

In  the  House  of  Commons  itself  the  Government's 
hostile  attitude  towards  the  Suffragettes  was  raised 
as  a  matter  of  urgency  on  the  motion  for  the  ad- 
journment, by  Sir  William  Bull,  the  Unionist  member 
for  Hammersmith,  who  showed  genuine  concern  at 
the  news  of  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  arrest.  Other  mem- 
bers of  the  same  Party  followed  by  jeering  at  the 
Government  for  the  marked  difference  between  their 
treatment  of  the  Suffragist  women  and  the  men  who 
had  been  arrested  for  cattle  driving  and  similar  of- 
fences in  Ireland.  Why  was  Mr.  Ginnell,  the  Na- 
tionalist Member  for  Westmeath,  to  receive  the  privi- 
leges of  a  first  class  misdemeanant,  they  asked, 
whilst  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  her  comrades  were  to 
be  treated  as  ordinary  criminals.  Lord  Robert 
Cecil  raised  a  laugh  against  the  President  of  the 
Local  Government  Board,  by  pointing  out  that 
when  he,  Mr.  John  Burns,  had  been  in  prison  for 
inciting  to  riot,  the  Government  of  the  day  had  in- 
tervened to  secure  preferential  treatment  for  him. 
In  reply  to  all  this  Mr.  Gladstone  refused  to  take 
any  action,  saying  that  the  women  could  come  out 
of  prison  whenever  they  liked. 

When  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  her  comrades  were 
brought  up  at  Westminster  Police  Court  before  Mr. 
Horace  Smith,  next  day,  it  was  found  that  the  au- 
thorities, who  were  perhaps  disappointed  at  the 
way  in  which  their  challenge  had  been  accepted,  had 
changed  their  minds  and  instead  of  prosecuting  the 
women  as  they  had  threatened  under  the  Charles  II 
Act,  had  decided  to  revert  to  the  old  method  of 


stigmatising  the  whole  affair  as  a  mere  vulgar  brawl 
with  the  Police.  Probably  thinking  the  true  facts 
would  arouse  too  much  public  sympathy,  the  prose- 
cution put  forward  as  evidence  an  absolute  tissue 
of  falsehood,  in  which  it  was  stated  that  the  deputa- 
tion had  set  out  from  the  Caxton  Hall  singing  and 
shouting  in  the  noisest  manner  and  that  they  had 
knocked  off  the  helmets  of  the  police  and  had  as- 
saulted them  right  and  left.  As  we  have  seen  every- 
thing had  been  done  most  quietly,  and  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst  herself  had  carefully  complied  with  every  order 
from  the  police  short  of  abandoning  her  intention 
to  reach  the  House  of  Commons.  Our  rebutting  evi- 
dence was  disregarded  and  Mrs.  Pankhiirst's  own 
statement  in  the  dock  was  cut  short  by  Mr.  Horace 
Smith's  saying,  "  I  have  nothing  to  do  with  that. 
It  only  amounts  to  another  threat  to  break  the  law, 
and  it  is  in  no  way  relevant  here.  You,  like  the 
others,  must  find  sureties  in  £20  for  twelve  months' 
good  behaviour  or  be  imprisoned  for  six  weeks  in  the 
Second  Division." 

Then  as  usual  the  women  were  hurried  off  in  the 
van  to  prison,  the  HoUoway  gates  were  closed  upon 
them,  and  the  Government  settled  down  to  forget 
them  as  far  as  it  could  until  next  time. 

February  28th  was  the  day  for  the  discussion  of 
the  Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill,  in  moving  its 
second  reading,  Mr.  H.  Y.  Stanger,  whilst  he  care- 
fully dissociated  himself  from  the  methods  of  the 
Suffragettes,  reminded  the  House  that,  if  in  the 
course  of  a  political  agitation,  excesses  were  com- 
mitted, the  authorities  should  search  for  the  cause  of 
the  discontent  and  apply  an  appropriate  remedy. 
Mr.  Cathcart  Wason,  another  Liberal  member,  but 


an  antl-SuSragist,  declared  on  the  other  hand  that 
the  Suffragette  movement  was  founded  on  riot,  and 
that  the  House  should  not  "  yield  to  clamour  " ;  yet 
with  an  entire  lack  of  consistency,  he  went  on  to 
extol  physical  force,  saying  that  because  in  his  opin- 
ion women  could  make  no  contribution  to  this,  they 
ought  not  to  be  allowed  to  vote.  Evidently  he  for- 
got that,  whilst  the  whole  trend  of  civilisation  has 
been  in  the  direction  of  mental  rather  than  physical 
dominance,  in  the  age  when  physical  force  was  the 
governing  power,  women  were  actually  members  of 
the  legislature  and,  that  they  retained  the  right  to 
vote  for  Members  of  Parliament  throughout  the 
ages  when  its  possession  was  looked  upon  as  a  burden 
and  until,  having  become  a  privilege,  it  was  wrested 
from  them.  But  all  this  talk  was  mere  word  spin- 
ning. It  was  a  pronouncement  from  the  Government 
benches,  that  was  eagerly  awaited.  As  last  time, 
it  was  Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone  who  spoke,  and  for 
the  Ministry,  and  he  soon  disclosed  the  fact  that  the 
Government  was  still  determined  to  make  no  move. 
It  was  the  old  story  of  opposition  in  the  Cabinet  and 
the  old  excuse  that  no  party  in  the  House  was  united 
either  for  or  against  the  question.  As  for  the  Bill 
he  himself  intended  to  vote  for  it,  for,  he  said,  mak- 
ing an  important  admission  which  his  colleagues 
might  well  have  taken  to  heart,  "  It  may  be  im- 
perfect, but  at  any  rate  it  removes  a  disqualification 
and  an  inequality  which  have  been  for  so, long  a  deep 
source  of  complaint  with  great  masses  of  the  people 
of  this  country.'^  Then  Mr.  Gladstone  went  on  to 
make  some  very  remarkable  statements,  of  which 
both  he  and  the  Government  were  afterwards  to  be 
reminded.     He  said  amongst  other  things : 


Men  have  had  to  struggle  for  centuries  for  their  political 
rights.  .  .  .  On  the  question  of  Women's  Suffrage,  ex- 
perience shows  that  predominance  of  argument  alone  —  and 
I  believe  that  that  has  been  attained  —  is  not  enough  to  win 
the  political  day. 

In  any  reform  movement,  he  went  on  to  ex- 
plain, various  stages  had  to  be  gone  through;  first 
there  was  the  stage  of  *'  academic  discussion,"  and 
the  ventilation  of  *'  pious  opinions  "  unaccompanied 
by  "  effective  action,''  but  after  this,  he  continued, 
becoming  perhaps  a  little  carried  away  by  his  own 
words ; 

Comes  the  time  when  political  dynamics  are  far  more 
important  than  political  argument.  You  have  to  move  a 
great  inert  mass  of  opinion  which,  in  the  early  stages,  always 
exists  in  the  country  in  regard  to  questions  of  the  first  mag- 
nitude. .  .  .  Men  have  learned  this  lesson  and  know 
the  necessity  for  demonstrating  the  greatness  of  their  move- 
ment and  for  establishing  that  force  majeure  which  actuates 
and  arms  a  Government  for  effective  work.  That  is  the 
task  before  the  supporters  of  this  great  movement.  .  .  . 
Looking  back  at  the  great  political  crises  in  the  thirties,  the 
sixties  and  the  eighties,  it  will  be  found  that  people  did  not 
go  about  in  small  crowds,  nor  were  they  content  with  en- 
thusiastic meetings  in  large  halls;  they  assembled  in  their 
tens  of  thousands  all  over  the  country. 

*'  But,"  said  Mr.  Gladstone,  "  of  course  it  is 
not  to  be  expected  that  women  can  assemble  in 
such  masses,"  but,  "  power  belongs  to  the  masses  and 
through  this  power  a  Government  can  be  influenced 
into  more  effective  action  than  a  Government  will 
be  likely  to  take  under  present  conditions." 

Mr.  Rees  (Liberal)  then  made  an  attempt  to  talk 
out  this  Bill  as  he  had  done  that  of  Mr.  Dickinson 


the  year  before,  and,  after  firing  off  all  the  jokes  that 
he  could  think  of,  he  fell  back  upon  the  Scriptures, 
saying,  **  Jerusalem  is  ruined  and  Judah  has  fallen. 
As  for  my  people,  children  are  their  oppressors  and 
women  rule  over  them.  .  .  .  Because  the 
daughters  of  Zion  are  haughty  and  walk  with 
stretched-forth  necks,  therefore  the  Lord  will  smite 
with  a  scab  the  crown  of  the  head  of  the  daughters 
of  Zion  and  in  that  day  the  Lord  will  take  away 
the  bravery  of  their  tinkling  ornaments." 

But  at  this  point  he  was  interrupted  by  Lord  Rob- 
ert Cecil  who  moved  the  closure  of  the  debate,  and, 
on  the  Speaker's  accepting  the  motion  and  its  being 
agreed  to  without  a  division,  a  vote  was  taken  upon 
the  Bill  itself,  in  which  271  members  voted  for  the 
Bill  and  only  ninety-two  against.  There  was  there- 
fore a  favourable  majority  of  179,  the  largest  that 
had  ever  been  cast  in  support  of  Women's  Suffrage. 

Unfortunately  it  now  appeared  that  Mr.  Stanger 
had  been  informed  beforehand  that  the  closure  reso- 
lution, which  would  prevent  the  talking  out  of  the 
Bill,  would  only  be  accepted  on  condition  that  he, 
as  the  Bill's  sponsor,  would  move  that  it  be  referred 
to  a  Committee  of  the  whole  House  instead  of  pass- 
ing automatically  to  one  of  the  Grand  Committees. 
Mr.  Stanger  had  agreed  to  the  condition  and  now 
fulfiled  the  promise  that  had  been  exacted,  and  the 
result  was  that  nothing  further  could  be  done  with 
the  Bill  unless  the  Government  would  provide  time 
for  its  discussion. 

Had  the  Cabinet  been  prepared  to  act  honourably 
and  to  stand  by  the  statement  of  their  spokesman, 
Mr.  Gladstone,  the  position  would  now  have  been 
that,  if  the  women  who  wanted  votes  could  organise 


a  scries  of  demonstrations  which  could  compare  with 
those  held  by  men  in  support  of  the  various  exten- 
sions of  the  franchise  that  had  already  taken  place, 
the  Government  would  concede  their  demands  and 
would  either  provide  time  for  the  passage  into  law 
of  Mr.  Stanger's  Bill  or  introduce  and  put  through 
its  various  stages  a  measure  of  their  own  framing. 
The  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  were  pre- 
pared to  accept  Mr.  Gladstone's  challenge. 

When  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  the  other  women  had 
gone  to  prison,  their  comrades  of  the  W.  S.  P.  U., 
at  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence's  suggestion,  had  entered 
upon  a  week  of  self-denial  in  order  to  raise  funds 
for  the  campaign.  The  thought  of  those  who  were 
in  prison  spurred  on  every  member  of  the  Union 
to  renewed  zeal.  Some  went  canvassing  from 
house  to  house  for  money.  Others  stood  with  col- 
lecting boxes  at  regular  pitches  in  the  street.  At 
the  Kensington  High  Street  District  Railway  Sta- 
tion, for  instance,  four  well  known  women  writers, 
Miss  Evelyn  Sharpe,  Miss  May  Sinclair,  Miss 
Violet  Hunt,  and  Miss  Clemence  Housman,  were 
gathering  in  pennies  all  through  those  wintry  days. 
Some  women  sold  flowers,  swept  crossings,  became 
pavement  artists  and  played  barrel  organs.  Poorer 
members  obliged  to  work  continuously  for  a  living, 
denied  themselves  sugar  and  milk  in  their  tea,  but- 
ter on  their  bread,  and  walked  to  and  from  their 
work,  in  order  to  be  able  to  give  something  to  the 
funds.  The  result  of  this  week  of  earnest  effort 
was  to  be  announced  at  a  great  meeting  at  the  Al- 
bert Hall  on  March  19th,  to  advertise  which  a 
great  box  kite,  with  a  flag  attached,  was  hanging  over 
the  Houses  of  Parliament  for  a  fortnight,  \\4iilst  a 


similar  flag  floated  over  Holloway  Gaol  to  cheer 
the  prisoners  within. 

Every  seat  in  the  great  Albert  Hall  was  sold  long 
before  the  day  of  the  meeting,  and  hundreds  of  peo- 
ple were  turned  away  at  the  doors.  The  vast  audi- 
ence was  composed  almost  entirely  of  women,  and 
there  were  200  women  stewards  in  white  dresses. 
The  platform  was  decorated  with  flowers  and 
thronged  with  ex-prisoners  and  the  officials  of 
the  Union,  but  as  the  sentences  of  Mrs.  Pankhurst 
and  eight  of  her  comrades  were  not  to  expire  until 
the  following  morning,  the  Chairman's  seat  which 
the  founder  of  the  Union  should  have  occupied,  was 
left  vacant  and  in  it  was  placed  a  large  white  card 
bearing  the  inscription  "  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  chair." 

Throughout  that  great  gathering  there  was  a  won- 
derful spirit  of  unity  and  not  one  woman  there  could 
wish  in  her  heart,  as  so  many  millions  have  done, 
"  if  I  had  only  been  a  man."  No,  they  were  rather 
like  to  pity  those  who  were  not  women  and  so  could 
not  join  in  this  great  fight,  for  to-day  it  was  the 
woman's  battle.  The  time  was  gone  when  she  must 
always  play  a  minor  part,  applauding,  ministering, 
comforting,  performing  useful  functions  if  you  will, 
incurring  risks,  too,  and  making  sacrifices,  but  always 
being  treated  and  always  thinking  of  herself  as  a 
mere  incident  of  the' struggle  outside  the  wide  main 
stream  of  life.  To-day  this  battle  of  theirs  seemed 
to  the  women  to  be  the  greatest  in  the  world,  all 
other  conflicts  appeared  minor  to  it.  A  great  wave 
of  enthusiasm  had  caught  them  up  and  they  were 
ready  to  break  out  into  cheers  and  clapping  at  the 
least  excuse.  Fate,  in  the  person  of  the  Govern- 
ment, had  provided  an  incident  entirely  in  keeping 


with  their  mood,  for  Christabel  immediately  an- 
nounced that  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  the  remaining 
prisoners  had  been  unexpectedly  released,  and  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  herself  walked  quietly  on  to  the  platform 
to  take  possession  of  the  vacant  chair. 

Then  it  was  a  wonderful  sight  to  see  the  up- 
springing  of  those  thousands  of  women  from  those 
rows  and  rows  of  seats  and  tiers  and  tiers  of  boxes 
and  galleries  sloping  to  the  roof  of  the  great  circular 
hall.  There  was  a  sea  of  waving  arms  and  hand- 
kerchiefs and  a  long  chorus  of  cheers, —  with  no 
greater  welcome  could  any  leader  have  been  met. 
The  founder  of  the  Union  stood  there  quite  still  in 
her  dark  grey  dress,  and  her  face,  usually  pale,  had 
that  strangely  blanched  look,  which  comes  to  pris- 
oners. When,  as  the  applause  subsided,  she  stepped 
forward  to  speak  to  the  assembled  women,  it  was 
evident  that  she  was  deeply  moved  by  their  greet- 
ing, and  as  she  told  how  the  chief  wardress  had  come 
to  her  cell  at  two  o'clock  that  afternoon  to  tell  her 
that  an  order  had  come  for  her  immediate  release, 
one  felt  that  she  was  very  tired  and  almost  over- 
whelmed by  the  sharp  contrast  between  that  great 
brightly  lighted  hall,  with  its  vast  seething  throng 
of  human  beings,  and  the  still  silence  of  the  prison 
cell.  She  had  heard,  she  told  the  women, — "  for 
these  things  filter  even  into  prison  " —  that  the  Bill 
had  successfully  passed  its  second  reading,  but  she 
said,  and  all  present  knew  that  she  spoke  rightly, 
that  if  ever  the  Bill  were  to  become  an  Act,  women 
must  do  ten  times  more  yet  than  they  had  ever  done 
in  the  past. 

**  I  for  one,  friends,"  Mrs.  Pankhurst  cried,  and 
we  knew  that  she  was  thinking  of  the  women  she 


had  seen  in  prison,  "  I  for  one,  looking  round  on 
the  sweated  and  decrepit  members  of  my  sex,  say 
that  men  have  had  control  of  these  things  long 
enough  and  that  no  woman  with  any  spark  of 
womanliness  in  her  will  consent  to  allow  this  state  of 
things  to  go  on  any  longer.  We  are  tired  of  it,  wc 
want  to  be  of  use  and  to  have  the  power  to  make 
the  world  a  better  place  both  for  men  and  women 
than  it  is  to-day.  She  paused  then  and  went  on  to 
express  quietly  but  with  deep  feeling  her  joy  in  this 
great  woman's  movement  that  a  few  years  before 
she  had  thought  she  would  never  live  to  see.  The 
old  cry  had  been,  "  You  will  never  rouse  women,"  but 
she  said,  "  we  have  done  what  they  thought,  and 
what  they  hoped,  to  be  impossible;  we  women  are 
roused."  At  those  words  they  stopped  her  with  their 

Then  Annie  Kenney  rose  to  tell  the  story  of  her 
first  and  only  other  visit  to  the  Royal  Albert  Hall, 
when  she  had  gone  there  to  ask  of  the  newly  elected 
and  triumphant  Liberal  Ministry,  a  pledge  for  the  en- 
franchisement  of  her  sex.  That  night,  two  years 
before,  she  had  been  received  with  cries  of  abuse  and 
howled  down  by  an  audience  of  angry  men.  "  There 
seemed  to  be  thousands  against  one,"  she  said,  "  but 
I  did  not  mind  because  I  knew  that  our  action  that 
night  was  like  summer  rain  on  a  drooping  flower;  it 
would  give  new  life  to  the  woman's  movement." 

And  now  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence,  our  Treasurer, 
was  to  come  forward  to  give  yet  one  more  proof 
that  Annie  Kenney's  words  were  true.  When  the 
treasurer  had  imagined  that  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  chair 
was  to  be  an  empty  one,  she  had  planned  that  those 
present  should  place  in  it  an  offering  of  money  for 


the  cause,  but  now  she  would  be  able  to  place  that 
offering  in  the  founder's  hands.  Towards  the  sum 
that  was  collected  there  was  already  the  £2,382 
IIS.  yd,  which  had  been  raised  by  the  devotion  and 
sacrifice  of  members  of  the  Union  during  the  week 
of  self  denial;  a  promise  of  £1,000  a  year  till 
women  were  enfranchised,  from  a  lady  who  wished 
to  remain  anonymous,  and  a  second  £1,000  which 
Mrs.  Lawrence  herself,  in  conjunction  with  her  hus- 
band, wished  to  give.  And  now  it  was  for  the  audi- 
ence to  do  their  part. 

Whilst  the  treasurer  had  been  speaking,  Mr.  Law- 
rence had  been  arranging  a  scoring  apparatus. 
Then,  one  by  one,  twelve  women  rose  up  in  the  hall 
and  each  promised  to  give  £100.  Their  example 
was  followed  by  numbers  of  others.  At  the  same 
time,  promise  cards,  filled  up  by  members  of  the  audi- 
ence, were  constantly  being  handed  to  the  platform, 
where  Mrs.  Lawrence  read  them  out.  At  last  the 
sum  of  £7,000  had  been  set  up,  and,  with  a  stirring 
call  from  Christabel  to  work  at  the  by-elections  at 
Peckham  and  Hastings  in  which  the  Union  was 
then  engaging,  the  meeting  closed. 

As  it  was  in  London,  the  Peckham  election  was  of 
course  most  noticed  by  the  Press  and,  because  it  was 
so  near  its  headquarters,  the  Women's  Social  and 
Political  Union  was  able  to  put  up  the  biggest  fight 

On  Peckham  Rye,  a  stretch  of  common  land  where 
hosts  of  preachers  and  speakers  of  all  kinds  are  to 
be  heard  on  every  holiday,  each  of  the  parties  in  the 
election,  including  the  Suffragettes,  began  by  hold- 
ing a  meeting  on  the  first  Sunday  of  the  contest. 
There  was  a  good  deal  of  rather  dangerous  horse- 


play  which  ominously  recalled  the  Mid-Devon  elec- 
tion, the  Suffragettes  being  chief  target  of  the 
disturbers.  But  before  many  days  were  over  the  sit- 
uation had  entirely  changed.  Peckham,  as  every 
Londoner  knows,  is  one  of  that  great  forest  of  sub- 
urbs of  mushroom  growth  on  the  south  side  of  the 
river.  Its  miles  and  miles  of  dingy  streets  are  lined 
with  monotonous  rows  of  ugly  little  houses  which  the 
jerry  builder  tries  to  convert  into  villa  residences 
by  disfiguring  with  heavy  over-ornamented  stone 
work  and  by  planting  a  useless  pillar  on  either  side 
of  the  narrow  doorway.  A  large  proportion  of 
these  little  dwellings  are  tenanted  by  at  least  two 
families,  and  the  district  is  given  over  to  small  shop- 
keepers and  clerks,  shop  assistants,  teachers  and  those 
who  belong  more  frankly  to  the  working  classes. 
No  one  who  can  afford  to  live  elsewhere  chooses 
to  live  in  Peckham;  It  is  full  of  honest  worthy  peo- 
ple, but  there  is  nothing  romantic  or  attractive  about 

The  Suffragettes  opened  their  Committee  Rooms 
in  the  High  Street  and  soon  seemed  to  be  every- 
where. They  were  riding  up  and  down  on  the  noisy 
electric  tram  cars  and  dashing  along  Rye  Lane, 
where  the  cheap  shops  are  and  where  on  Saturday 
nights  you  can  buy  everything  for  half  the  usual 
price  at  the  costermongers'  stalls,  chalking  the  pave- 
ments, giving  out  handbills,  and  speaking  at  the  street 
corners,  and  soon  it  was  found  that  these  busy,  active 
women  had  not  only  converted  almost  everyone  in  the 
district  to  the  justice  of  their  claims,  but  had  cap- 
tured the  heart  of  the  constituency.  How  had  it 
happened?  Partly,  it  may  be,  because  of  the  ro- 
mance and  colour  that  they  had  brought  into  the 


humdrum  Peckham  life,  but  perhaps  the  following 
impressions  of  "  An  Enthusiast "  which  appeared  in 
the  Daily  Mail  in  the  midst  of  the  election  will  best 
explain  the  mystery: 

Three  happy  girls,  eyes  laughter-lit,  breezy,  buoyant,  joy- 
ous, arm  in  arm,  talking  like  three  cascades,  are  making  a 
royal  progress  down  "  the  lane  that  leads  to  Rye."  Such  is 
the  head  of  the  comet.  Just  a  glance  at  the  tail.  A  hetero- 
geneous nebula  of  human  life  —  all  ranks  and  ages,  both 
sexes  and  all  professions,  following,  jostling,  bustling,  hus- 
tling. Miss  Christabel  Pankhurst  shakes  herself  free  from 
one  of  her  supporters,  and  takes  under  her  wing  a  barefoot, 
ragged  urchin,  whose  eyes  are  dancing  with  glee  and  pride, 
for  his  pals  are  envious.  Who  is  he  that  that  gloved  hand 
should  rest  caressingly  upon  his  shoulder  ?  The  girl  and  the 
gamin  trudge  along  together.  "  Oh,  ain't  she  just  sweet?  " 
says  a  factory  girl,  "  and  fancy  'er  abeen  to  prison ! " 
"  Carn*t  she  tork  —  my  word  ? "  chimes  in  her  mate. 
"  Why,  she  just  shut  up  them  blokes  as  arsked  the  ques- 
tions just  like  a  man,  she  did !  " 

Her  magnetism  lies  in  her  complexity,  her  bafflingness, 
her  buoyance,  her  radiant  health,  her  colouring  —  that  of  the 
inside  of  a  seashell.  She  is  so  every  inch  alive  —  the  very 
exuberance  of  life,  body  and  mind.  Not  the  racked  in- 
tensity that  comes  of  nerves  high  strung  and  over-active 
brain,  but  just  that  finger-tip  aliveness  which  comes  of  per- 
fect health  and  perfect  happiness  in  engrossing  occupation. 

This  girl  orator  and  organiser,  martyr  and  crusader,  holds 
and  sways  her  crowds  by  a  very  network  of  antithesis,  and 
her  rosy  face  is  the  index  of  her  complexity.  Defiance 
chases  demureness;  she  flings  a  madcap  word  and  then  lec- 
tures you  like  a  schoolmistress. 

One  moment  reticent,  grave,  and  serious,  then  simmering 
with  mischief,  as  she  lays  a  Cabinet  Minister  or  a  man  in 
the  crowd  safely  upon  his  back  —  O  rash  questioner !  Then 
her  wilfulness  —  that  puckered  chin  tells  a  tale  —  yet  her 


willingness  to  listen  and  to  learn.  Her  melting,  compre- 
hending sympathy  for  the  sorrowful  and  heavy-laden  —  her 
rapier  wit  and  repartee,  but  ever  smothered  in  the  white 
sugar  of  good  humour.  All  these  you  see  —  some,  when 
sitting  in  the  background  of  the  trolly,  she  seeks  to  hide 
from  the  public  stare,  which  she  shrinks  from  with  a  maid- 
en's modesty  when  not  actually  engaged  in  speaking  — 
others,  when  with  lissome  figure  swaying,  in  rhythmic  sym- 
pathy with  the  outpouring  words,, she  fastens  her  mind  and 
yours  upon  the  point  at  issue. 

And  then  her  unconscious  petulance.  That  green  veil  of 
hers  tied  under  her  chin  that  would  for  ever  get  awry. 
Yes,  she  is  very,  very  feminine,  and  that  is  what  will  win 
the  vote  for  women. 

With  a  voice  that  never  tires  (nor  ever  tires  the  listener), 
she  is  born  to  charm  the  ear  with  an  ebb  and  flow  of  sweet 
sound  —  sound  so  clear,  so  silver,  so  bell-like,  now  rising, 
now  falling,  now  rushing  and  tumultuous,  now  measured 
and  tempered  and  austere  —  earnest  and  grave  —  impetuous, 
a  very  volley,  ardent,  burning,  scathing,  denunciatory  — 
then  sinking  to  appeal  to  low  notes  and  something  near  to 

Shall  I  speak  of  her  logic?  It  is  inexorable.  It  is  not  on 
mere  smart  retort  that  she  depends  when  heckled  —  she  has 
a  good  case  and  relies  on  it.  She  is  saturated  with  facts, 
and  the  hecklers  find  themselves  heckled,  twitted,  tripped, 
floored.  I  think  they  like  it.  She  does,  and  shows  it.  She 
flings  herself  into  the  fray,  and  literally  pants  for  the  next 
question  to  tear  to  shreds.  Her  questioners  are  for  the  most 
part  earthenware,  and  this  bit  of  porcelain  does  them  in  the 
eye,  quaintly,  daintily,  intellectually,  glibly. 

Look  to  it,  Mr.  Gautrey,  or  the  witchery  of  Christabel 
will  "  do  you  in  the  eye." 

No,  the  electors  of  Peckham  agreed,  these  Suffra- 
gettes were  not  the  sort  of  women  they  had  read  of. 
They  were  neither  the   "  disorderly,"    "  shouting," 


**  abusive,"  "  unsexed,'*  "  violent  '*  creatures,  nor  the 
"  soured,"  "  dry,"  and  "  disappointed  "  women  they 
had  been  led  to  expect. 

It  was  not  merely  the  "  enthusiast "  in  the  Daily 
Mail  who  testified  to  the  work  that  the  Suffragettes 
were  doing.  Conservative  newspapers,  though  they 
generally  preferred  to  ignore  the  Suffragettes  be- 
cause, though  opposing  the  Government,  they  were 
not  supporting  either  the  Conservative  candidates 
or  their  proposals,  nevertheless  they  allowed  some  of 
the  truths  that  the  special  correspondent  told  them 
about  the  women's  campaign  to  filter  into  their  col- 

The  Standard  said:  "These  women  are  pre- 
pared to  kill  themselves  with  fatigue  and  exposure, 
not  for  the  vote  but  for  what  the  vote  means."  The 
By-Stander  said :  "  The  ladies'  tongues  have  been 
tireless  and  their  brains  inexhaustible.  Of  all  the 
assembled  bodies,  and  their  name  was  legion,  who 
thronged  Peckham,  theirs  has  been, the  most  persist- 
ent."  The  Pall  Mall  Gazette  said:  "Everybody 
seems  agreed  that  the  best  speeches  in  the  election 
are  being  made  by  the  lady  Suffragists,"  whilst  the 
Daily  Mail  asserted  that  "in  no  contest  have  the 
Suffragettes  figured  so  largely  or  done  such  harm  to 
the  Radical  candidate." 

There  is  a  type  of  man  who  will  sometimes  ask  a 
woman's  advice  about  politics  and  may  even  admit 
that  she  is  not  only  a  better  speaker  than  he  is  but 
knows  more  about  public  questions  than  he  will  ever 
know,  and  who  yet  thinks  it  quite  tolerable  that  she 
should  be  forever  debarred  from  voiing,  though  he 
has  had  that  privilege  since  he  was  twenty-one.  Men 
of  this  type  are  usually  great  followers  of  Party, 


and  allow  their  ideas  of  right  and  wrong  in  politics 
to  be  almost  entirely  dictated  by  the  actions  of  the 
very  fallible  gentlemen  who  happen  to  be  their  Party 
leaders.  Liberals  of  this  type,  whether  editors  of 
newspapers,  journalists,  Members  of  Parliament,  or 
merely  rank  and  file,  had  always  condemned  the 
Suffragettes  because  the  Liberal  party  happened  to 
be  attacked  by  them. 

The  Suffragette  opposition  at  Peckham  caused 
them  to  be  more  indignant  than  ever,  for  Peckham 
was  a  Liberal  seat  that  had  been  held  at  the  last  elec- 
tion by  the  great  majority  of  2,339  votes,  and  if 
this  big  majority  were  to  be  pulled  down  they  feared 
that  the  House  of  Lords  would  be  emboldened  to 
throw  out  the  Government's  Licensing  Bill  which 
was  then  being  debated  in  Parliament.  It  was  true 
that,  though  the  Liberals  now  spoke  of  this  Bill  as 
being  of  paramount  importance,  they  had  themselves 
been  just  as  keen  upon  a  host  of  other  questions  and 
had  over  and  over  again  before  this  called  upon  the 
Suffragettes  to  stand  aside  and  refrain  from  pressing 
their  claim  at  what  on  each  occasion  they  assured 
them  was  the  crisis  of  all  crises.  First  it  had  been 
that  the  Liberal  Government  might  come  safely  into 
power  that  they  had  charged  the  women  to  wait, 
then  that  Free  Trade  might  be  put  out  of  danger, 
then  for  the  passage  of  the  Education  Bill,  the  Plural 
Voting  Bill  and  every  measure  put  forward.  In 
every  case  they  assumed  that  the  proposal  ad- 
vanced by  the  Liberal  Cabinet  was  the  only  possible 
solution  of  the  problem  and  in  spite  of  the  differ- 
ences of  opinion  amongst  men,  they  maintained  that 
no  right-minded  woman  could  conscientiously  wish 
for  any  other. 


When  it  came  to  the  question  of  the  Licensing  Bill, 
the  Liberal  politicians  declared  that  the  sole  issue 
of  the  election  was  between  the  Licensing  Bill  on  the 
one  hand  and  intemperance  on  the  other.  This  was 
absurd,  for  if  the  Liberals  wished  to  be  rid  of  the 
Suffragette  opposition,  they  had  only  to  remove  their 
veto  from  the  Woman's  Bill. 

On  the  morning  after  their  release  from  Hollo- 
way,  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  the  other  ex-prisoners 
drove  off  to  Peckham  in  brakes  and  paraded  the  con- 
stituency holding  meetings  at  various  points,  and 
worked  there  incessantly  until  the  end.  A  proces-r 
sion  of  their  own  ex-prisoners  was  also  organised  by 
the  Suffragettes  of  the  Women's  Freedom  League 
who  were  also  helping  to  fight  the  Government  in 
this  election.  The  Liberals  retorted  by  displaying 
a  big  stocking,  blue,  the  Peckham  Liberals  colour, 
labelled,  **  since  my  wife  turned  Suffragette  L  can't 
get  my  stockings  darned  1"  but  this  fell  very  flat. 
On  polling  day  the  Star  showed  its  belief  in  the 
strong  influence  which  women  were  exerting  in  the 
election,  by  making  its  final  appeal  on  behalf  of  the 
Government  candidate,  not  to  the  men  voters  but  to 
the  women  of  Peckham.  The  Suffragettes  were  sta- 
tioned at  every  polling  booth,  and,  as  the  voters 
passed  in,  many  of  those  who  had  hitherto  voted  for 
the  Liberal  party  handed  their  colours  and  polling 
cards  to  the  women  with  a  promise  to  vote  against 
the  Government  on  this  occasion.  On  seeing  this 
one  of  the  Liberal  officials  became  so  angry  that  he 
threatened  to  prosecute  a  member  of  the  Freedom 
League  under  the  Corrupt  Practices  Act. 

In  the  evening  after  the  poll  closed,  Mrs.  Drum- 
mond,  upon  whom  the  organisation  of  the  Suffra- 


gettes'  campaign  had  chiefly  fallen,  and  who  had 
been  too  busy  all  day  even  to  get  a  meal,  repaired 
to  the  Town  Hall  where  the  votes  were  being 
counted.  As  she  stood  waiting  on  the  steps,  weari- 
ness showing  at  last  in  every  line  of  her  bonnie  round 
face  and  sturdy  little  figure,  the  door-keeper,  invited 
her  to  rest  in  the  entrance  hall  until  the  result  was 
known.  Presently  she  heard  a  loud  burst  of  shout- 
ing, and  a  number  of  men,  in  the  midst  of  whom  was 
Mr.  Winston  Churchill,  came  running  down  the 
stairs  from  the  count.  She  started  up,  eager  to  learn 
the  news,  but  was  swept  out  into  the  street  in  the 
midst  of  those  who  were  impetuously  rushing  on.  At 
that  moment  there  flared  out  a  magnesium  light  — 
red,  the  Conservative  colour.  It  was  known  that 
the  Government  candidate  had  been  defeated,^  and 
the  huge  crowd  outside  broke  into  cheers.  Mr. 
Churchill  was  pushed  about  like  anyone  else,  and 
had  to  work  his  way  out  of  the  throng,  but  the  work- 
ing men  seeing  Mrs.  Drummond  there,  a  worker 
like  themselves,  who  had  been  labouring  strenuously 
amongst  them  during  the  past  week,  and  whom  they 
all  thoroughly  respected,  crowded  round  her  cheer- 
ing, and  as  her  husband's  constituents  did  to  little 
Scotch  Maggie  in  Mr.  Barrie's  play  **  What  Every 
Woman  Knows,"  they  lifted  her  shoulder-high,  and 
bore  her  in  triumph  down  the  street.     But  Mrs. 

1  The  figures  were  Mr.  C.  A.  Gooch    (C) 6,970 

Mr.  T.  Gautrey  (L) 4,476 

Majority 2^94 

The  figures  at  the  General  Election  had  been : 

Mr.  Charles  G.  Clarke   (L) 5,903 

Sir  F.  G.  Banbury  (C) 3,564 


Drummond  felt  exceedingly  uncomfortable  in  this 
exalted  state,  and,  asking  to  be  released,  hurriedly 
sped  away. 

Now  that  their  late  majority  of  2,339  had  been 
turned  into  a  majority  for  the  Conservatives  of 
2,494,  the  Liberals  proceeded  to  heap  abuse  upon 
the  electors  and  to  assert  that  the  contest  had  been 
disgraced  by  unprecedented  corruption  and  insobriety. 
But  the  experience  of  the  Suffragettes  was  that  the 
election  was  one  of  the  most  sober  and  orderly  that 
they  had  ever  attended,  and  their  feeling  was  that 
the  defeat  of  the  Liberal  candidate  was  very  much 
more  largely  due  to  the  Government's  refusal  to 
grant  votes  to  women  and  to  its  coercive  treatment  of 
the  women's  movement  than  to  any  other  cause. 
This  opinion  was  shared  by  many  others.  Dr.  Rob- 
ert Esler,  the  Divisional  Surgeon  for  Pcckham, 
wrote  to  the  Daily  Telegraph  as  follows : 


The  statement  was  advanced  several  times  that  the  new 
member  was  floated  into  the  House  on  beer.  .  .  .  Lest 
others  should  infer  from  the  words  that  the  electors  con- 
stitute a  drunken  community,  may  I,  being  in  a  position 
to  know  the  facts,  indicate  them.  .  .  .  During  the  ten 
days  of  intense  tension  in  canvassing  and  speaking,  there  was 
literally  no  insobriety.  .  .  .  The  charges  at  the  police 
station  fell  much  below  the  usual  low  average,  .  .  . 
and  there  was  not  a  single  assault  case.  ...  In  my 
opinion  a  high  moral  tone  was  imparted  at  the  beginning  by 
the  presence  on  the  Rye  of  the  ladies  who  took  part  in  the 
proceedings.  Their  dignified  demeanour  and  cultured  ora- 
tory made  a  profound  impression,  and  I  think  this  should  not 
be  overlooked  when  considering  the  result. 


Mr.  St.  John  G.  Ervine  wrote  to  the  Liberal  organ, 
The  Nation,  on  March  28th,  saying: 

There  is  not  a  man  in  the  National  Liberal  Club  to- 
day who  does  not  know  that  Mid-Devon  was  lost  to  the 
Liberals  because  of  the  adverse  action  of  the  militant 
suffragists,  a  fact  which  was  patent  even  to  the  rowdy  mob 
who  rolled  Mrs,  Pankhurst  in  the  mud  when  the  result 
of  that  poll  was  declared.  There  is  not  a  Liberal  member 
to-day  who  does  not  dread  the  prospect  of  a  General  Elec- 
tion with  the  absolute  certainty  that  he  will  have  to  fight, 
not  only  the  usual  enemy,  but  also  a  very  determined  body, 
which,  at  the  present  time,  has  no  political  creed  other  than 
that  expressed  in  the  three  words  "  Votes  for  Women." 
I  am  wrong,  there  is  one  man  who  does  not  seem  to  realise 
all  this,  to  whom  Mid-Devon  was  not  a  warning,  to  whom 
Peckham  will  convey  no  sign  of  further  trouble,  the 
Premier  elect,  Mr.  Asquith.  .  .  .  This  Peckham  elec- 
tion has  been  a  revelation  to  me  of  the  perfectly  wonderful 
forces  which  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  union  are 
bringing  to  bear  on  by-elections.  ...  As  a  purely  im- 
partial observer  of  the  Peckham  election  I  submit  to  you, 
Sir,  and  to  the  Liberal  party,  that  it  is  time  they  started 
doing  something  for  the  women.  The  mandate  might  not 
have  been  there  in  1906,  but  it  most  certainly  is  there  now. 

Mr.  Gooch,  the  successful  candidate,  stated :  "  A 
great  feature  of  this  election  has  been  the  activity  of 
the  supporters  of  women's  suffrage."  And  even  the 
Daily  News,  which  published  a  correspondence  from 
its  readers  dealing  with  the  Liberal  defeat  at  Peck- 
ham, stated  in  its  issue  of  March  31st,  that  the  ma- 
jority of  the  letters  received  referred  to  the  action 
taken  by  the  Suffragettes, 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  1908 

Mr.  Asquith  Becomes  Prime  Minister.  Defeat  of 
Mr.  Winston  Churchill  in  North  West  Man- 
chester AND  His  Election  at  Dundee;  Mr. 
Asquith's  Offer  and  the  Women's  Reply. 

Owing  to  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman's  con- 
tinued illness,  Mr.  Asquith  had  been  acting  as  his 
deputy  for  many  months  past,  and  the  Easter  Holi- 
days were  scarcely  over  when  it  was  announced  that 
he  had  become  Prime  Minister  in  fact,  for  the  state 
of  Sir  Henry's  health  had  compelled  him  to  resign. 
The  Ex-Premier  did  not  live  long  afterwards. 
Though  he  had  been  converted  to  Women's  Suffrage 
late  in  life  when  his  fighting  powers  were  always 
seriously  impaired,  there  is  little  doubt  that  he  spoke 
truly  when  he  declared  his  disappointment  af  not  be- 
ing able  to  do  anything  for  the  Suffragists  when  they 
waited  upon  him  in  deputation  on  the  19th  of  May, 
1906;  and,  if  ever  the  secret  history  of  the  Govern- 
ment during  that  time  comes  to  be  written,  we  shall 
probably  learn  that,  had  he  possessed  the  strength 
to  enforce  his  will  upon  his  colleagues,  votes  would 
have  been  granted  to  women  that  very  year.  Once 
when  Annie  Kenney  and  Mary  Gawthorpe  were  trav- 
elling with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  to  Bor- 
dighera,  Sir  Henry  Campbell-Bannerman  and  they 
chanced  to  enter  the  same  train  and  afterwards  Sir 


APRIL  AND  MAY,  1908  223 

Henry  happened  to  seat  himself  at  the  very  table 
where  Annie  and  Mary  were  taking  tea.  They  at 
once  introduced  themselves  to  him  and  all  three  had 
a  long  talk  together  In  the  course  of  which  Annie 
naively  assured  him,  "  You  have  no  one  in  the  Cabi- 
net so  clever  as  Miss  Christabel  Pankhurst"  Other 
things,  too,  she  must  have  told  him  out  of  her  loyal, 
earnest  heart  for,  as  she  explained  to  us  later,  **  he 
looked  so  much  happier  afterwards,"  and  we  have 
been  told  by  some  who  knew  him  that,  when  criti- 
cisms of  the  Suffragettes  were  subsequently  made  in 
his  hearing,  he  would  invariably  protest,  "  Oh,  you 
must  not  say  anything  against  my  little  friend,  Annie 

Mr.  Asquith  who  had  come  to  take  his  place,  was 
a  man  of  very  different  metal.  He  was  one  whom 
nobody  seemed  to  like  and  the  only  reason  for  his 
having  become  Prime  Minister  appeared  to  be  that 
he  had  the  reputation  of  being  what  is  called  "  a 
strong  man,"  and  what  generally  turns  out  to  be  an 
obstinate  one.  It  was  a  significant  fact  that  it  was 
whilst  he  had  held  the  reins  of  power  during  Sir 
Henry  Campbell-Bannerman's  illness,  that  the  prac- 
tice of  treating  the  Suffragettes  as  first  class  misde- 
meanants had  been  abandoned.  On  the  promotion 
of  Mr.  Asquith,  a  general  move  up  to  better  paid  and 
more  Important  posts  took  place  in  the  Cabinet. 
According  to  the  Constitutional  Law  of  the  country, 
the  newcomers  Into  the  Cabinet  were  obliged  to  va- 
cate their  seats  and  to  offer  themselves  for  reelection. 
At  the  same  time  there  were  three  elevations  from 
the  lower  to  the  upper  House,  curtailing  a  choice  of 
new  representatives  in  the  Commons  by  the  constitu- 
encies for  which  the  new  peers  had  sat.     Two  va- 


cancies  also  occurred  owing  to  deaths,  and  Sir  Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman's  own  seat  at  Stirling  Burghs 
was  soon  vacant.  Something  almost  like  a  miniature 
General  Election  was  therefore  sprung  upon  the  coun- 
try, and  the  Suffragettes  were  compelled  to  marshal 
their  forces  simultaneously  in  no  fewer  than  nine  con- 

The  election  at  North  West  Manchester,  where  a 
vigorous  campaign  was  organised  in  opposition  to 
Mr.  Winston  Churchill,  who  was  endeavouring  to 
obtain  the  people's  sanction  to  his  appointment  as 
President  of  the  Board  of  Trade,  was  the  most 
hardly  fought,  and  aroused  the  greatest  interest.  It 
was  the  scene  of  the  first  anti-Government  struggle 
during  which  Mr.  Churchill  had  angrily  declared 
that  he  was  being  "  hen-pecked  " ;  but  the  women 
had  no  need  to  go  round  to  his  meetings  now,  as  they 
had  done  then,  in  order  to  attract  public  attention  to 
their  cause,  for  all  Manchester  was  now  wanting  to 
hear  about  it.  The  Suffragettes  had  but  to  arrange 
their  own  meetings  and  the  Manchester  Guardian  it- 
self was  ready  to  publish  a  detailed  list  of  them  in  its 

Mr.  Churchill  himself.  Cabinet  Minister  though 
he  was  to  be,  could  not  obtain  such  crowded  audi- 
ences as  the  Suffragettes. 

At  the  same  time  many  Liberal  women,  dissatisfied 
with  the  behaviour  of  the  Government  and  pro- 
foundly distrustful  of  Mr.  Asquith,  held  almost  en- 
tirely aloof  from  the  contest  while  Miss  Margaret 
Ashton,  ^Qne  of  the  most  prominent,  publicly  stated 
that  she  would  work  no  more  for  the  Liberal  Party 
until  the  Liberal  Party  were  prepared  to  give  her  a 
vote.     The  Manchester  Guardian  wofully  deplored 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  igo8  225 

these  defections;  declaring  that  **  the  Women's  Lib- 
eral Associations  were  deprived  in  a  large  measure  of 
their  natural  leaders  "  and  tended  **  to  become  as 
sheep  without  a  shepherd,"  and  Mr.  Churchill  now 
began  to  realise  that  the  women's  opposition  was  a 
serious  matter.  Therefore,  asked  at  an  election 
meeting  on  April  15  th,  what  he  intended  to  do 
to  help  women  to  obtain  the  Parliamentary  franchise, 
Mr.  Churchill  made  the  following  statement:  '*  I 
will  try  my  best  as  and  when  occasion  offers,  because 
I  do  think  sincerely  that  the  women  have  always 
had  a  logical  case  and  they  have  now  got  behind 
them  a  great  popular  demand  amongst  women.  It 
is  no  longer  a  movement  of  a  few  extravagant  and 
excitable  people,  but  one  which  is  gradually  spread- 
ing to  all  classes  of  women,  and,  that  being  so,  it 
assumes  the  same  character  as  franchise  movements 
have  previously  assumed!^ 

Some  people  thought  that  the  Suffragettes  would 
be  satisfied  with  Mr.  Churchill's  promise  to  use  his 
influence,  and  would  accordingly  withdraw  their  op- 
position to  his  return,  but  Christabel  Pankhurst  at 
once  addressed  a  letter  to  the  Manchester  press  ex- 
plaining that  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  would  be  satisfied 
with  nothing  less  than  a  definite  understanding  from 
the  Prime  Minister,  and  the  Government  as  a  whole, 
that  the  equal  Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill  would 
be  carried  into  law  without  delay. 

When  polling  began  at  eight  o'clock  on  the  morn- 
ing of  April  25th  the  Suffragettes  took  their  places 
at  the  entrance  to  the  booths  in  the  midst  of  a  heavy 
snow  storm  and  remained  there  is  spite  of  it,  through- 
out the  day.  The  excitement  which  had  been  grow- 
ing as  the  contest  progressed  was  not  confined  to  the 



poorer  members  of  the  electorate,  but  spread  in  all 
its  force  to  the  candidates  themselves,  and  one  of  the 
Suffragettes  was  able  to  tell  that  when  Mr.  Churchill 
drove  past  the  polling  booth  at  which  she  was  sta- 
tioned, he  stood  up  in  his  open  carriage,  shouting 
and  shaking  his  fist  at  her. 

During  the  counting  of  the  votes,  huge  crowds 
assembled  in  Albert  Square  outside  the  Town  Hall, 
and  inside  there  was  a  large  gathering  of  the  more 
favoured  persons.  With  pallid  face  the  future  Cab- 
inet Minister  walked  feverishly  up  and  down  the 
room  and  when  the  figures  were  announced  and  it 
was  known  that  Mr.  Joynson-Hicks  had  defeated 
him  by  a  majority  of  429  votes,  the  Suffragettes,  al- 
though they  were  his  opponents,  could  not  refrain 
from  pitying  him,  for  he  burst  into  tears  and  hid 
his  face  on  his  mother's  breast.  As  he  passed  out 
of  the  room,  Mrs.  Drummond,  always  eager  and 
impulsive,  darted  up  to  him  and,  laying  her  hand 
on  his  arm,  said:  **  It  is  the  women  that  have  done 
this,  Mr.  Churchill.  You  will  understand  now  that 
we  must  have  our  vote."  But  he  shook  her  off  pet- 
ulantly saying,  "  Get  away,  woman  1  "  Meanwhile, 
Mr.  Joynson-Hicks  was  outside  thanking  the  electors 
who  had  returned  him  to  Parliament,  and  in  the 
course  of  his  remarks  he  said :  **  I  acknowledge  the 
assistance  I  have  received  from  those  ladies  who  are 
sometimes  laughed  at,  but  who,  I  think,  will  now  be 
feared  by  Mr.  Churchill, —  the  Suffragists."  These 
words  were  received  with  cheers.  Next  day  all  the 
newspapers  were  discussing  Mr.  Churchill's  defeat 
and  amongst  others,  the  Manchester  Guardian  (L), 
the  Daily  News  (L),  the  Morning  Leader  (L),  the 
Daily  Mirror  (C),  the  Daily  Telegraph   (C),  the 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  igo8  227 

Daily  Chronicle  (L),  and  the  Standard  (C),  ad- 
mitted that  this  was  largely  due  to  the  opposition  of 
the  Suffragettes,  whilst  the  Daily  News  now  called 
upon  the  Liberal  Party  to  bring  this  state  of  affairs  to 
an  end  by  granting  the  suffrage  to  women. 

Of  course  it  was  a  foregone  conclusion  that  a  safe 
seat  would  now  be  found  for  Mr.  Churchill,  and 
that  of  Dundee,  which  happened  to  be  vacant,  was 
immediately  offered  to  him.  On  his  accepting  the 
invitation,  the  Suffragettes'  armies  hastened  North 
to  oppose  him,  and  Mrs.  Pankhurst  held  a  great 
meeting  in  the  Kinnaird  Hall  on  the  evening  before 
his  arrival.  One  of  Mr.  Churchill's  first  acts  on 
reaching  the  constituency  was  to  address  a  gathering 
of  Liberal  women,  for  he  was  determined  to  make 
every  effort  to  secure  their  help  in  counteracting  the 
influence  of  the  Suffragettes.  Instead  of  expatiating 
on  the  greatness  of  the  general  principles  of  his 
party,  and  calling  upon  his  hearers  to  support  him 
on  those  grounds,  as  politicians  had  been  wont  to  do 
in  the  past,  he  dealt  almost  entirely  with  votes  for 
women,  saying  that  there  was  a  "  general  demand  " 
for  the  suffrage  on  the  part  of  **  a  very  large  body 
of  women  throughout  the  country,"  and  that  the 
question  had  "  now  come  into  the  arena  of  prac- 
tical politics."  He  asked  to  be  considered  as  a 
friend  of  the  movement,  and  added,  *'  No  one  can 
be  blind  to  the  fact  that  at  the  next  General  Elec- 
tion, Women's  Suffrage  will  be  a  real  practical  issue 
and  the  next  Parliament,  I  think,  ought  to  see  the 
gratification  of  the  women's  claims.  I  do  not  ex- 
clude the  possibility  of  the  suffrage  being  dealt  with 
in  this  Parliament/'  He  refused,  however,  to  give 
^ny  pledge  that  those  in  power  would  take  action. 


He  went  on  to  describe  the  Suffragettes,  as  **  hornets," 
and  presumably  referring  to  the  by-election  at  Peck- 
ham,  he  said :  **  I  have  seen  with  regret,  some  of 
the  most  earnest  advocates  of  the  cause  allying  them- 
selves with  the  forces  of  drink  and  reaction  carried 
shoulder  high,  so  I  am  informed,  by  the  rowdy  ele- 
ments which  are  always  to  be  found  at  the  tail  of  a 
public-house  made  agitation." 

Mr.  Churchill's  slanderous  innuendoes  in  regard 
to  the  Women's  Campaign  at  Peckham  were  not 
considered  worthy  of  notice  by  the  W.  S.  P.  U.,  but 
Miss  Maloney,  a  high  spirited  young  member  of  the 
Women's  Freedom  League  who  had  also  taken  part 
in  that  particular  by-election,  determined  that  she 
would  force  him  to  withdraw  what  he  had  said.  At 
his  next  open  air  meeting  she  appeared  brandishing 
a  large  muffin  bell  and  warned  him  that  unless  he 
would  apologise  to  the  women,  she  would  not  let  him 
speak.  As  he  refused  to  do  so,  she  carried  out  her 
threat.  The  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union 
regretted  this  action,  because  at  by-elections  they  pre- 
ferred to  fight  the  Government  with  argument  alone, 
but  the  Freedom  League  upheld  Miss  Maloney,  and 
she  continued  to  make  it  impossible  for  Mr.  Church- 
ill to  speak  in  the  open.  On  the  eve  of  the  poll  it 
came  to  a  pitched  battle  between  them  in  which  Miss 
Maloney  triumphed.  It  had  been  arranged  that 
Mr.  Churchill  should  address  a  meeting  at  the  Gas 
Works  and  "  la  Belle  Maloney,"  as  she  was  after- 
wards nicknamed,  was  speaking  at  the  gates  when  he 
appeared.  As  before  she  at  once  called  upon  him 
to  apologise,  but,  without  answering,  he  passed  on 
to  enter  the  gates.  She  followed  and  though  Mr. 
Churchill's  friends  strove  to  prevent  her  entering,  the 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  igo8  229 

crowd  swept  her  into  the  yard.  She  had  lost  her 
bell  in  the  rush  but,  quite  undaunted,  she  darted  into 
the  shed  where  the  meeting  was  to  take  place,  and, 
whilst  Mr.  Churchill  mounted  a  bench  to  address 
the  workmen,  Miss  Maloney  climbed  up  on  to  a 
pile  of  boxes  directly  opposite  to  him.  Again  she 
called  for  the  apology,  but  he  remained  silent  and 
the  crowd  burst  into  shouts  and  yells.  At  last,  as 
the  noise  grew,  the  Manager  of  the  Gas  Works,  a 
supporter  of  the  Government,  shouted  out,  "  hands 
up  all  those  who  want  to  hear  Mr.  Churchill.''  A 
few  hands,  half  a  dozen  or  so,  were  all  that  were 
raised,  and  seeing  this  Miss  Maloney  cried,  "  Now, 
friends,  who  wants  to  hear  me?  "  and  when  a  great 
forest  of  hands  shot  up,  in  answer,  she  pressed  home 
her  advantage  saying,  "  Gentlemen,  the  resolution 
has  been  put  to  the  meeting  and  by  a  large  majority 
it  has  been  decided  in  my  favour."  Then  she  went 
on  to  explain  what  she  had  come  for,  but  in  the 
midst  of  her  words,  Mr.  Churchill  jumped  up  and 
repeated  his  earlier  statement  in  a  modified  form. 
For  some  time  she  and  the  future  Cabinet  Minister 
continued  shouting  at  each  other  through  the  uproar 
of  the  crowd.  At  last,  white  with  rage,  he  turned 
tail  and  left  the  meeting  to  her.  Thus,  as  the  papers 
said,  "  the  amazing  episode  concluded." 

Meanwhile  the  Women's  Social  and  Political 
Union  had  been  holding  some  two  hundred  large 
and  enthusiastic  meetings  in  the  constituency  each 
week,  and  on  the  eve  of  the  poll  they  wound  up  with 
five  monster  demonstrations,  four  of  which  were  in 
the  open  air  and  the  fifth  in  the  Drill  Hall.  Though 
the  bulk  of  the  Press  throughout  the  country  pre- 
ferred to  give  greater  space  to  the  account  of  the 


incident  between  Mr.  Churchill  and  Miss  Maloney 
with  her  bell,  glowing  accounts  of  these  W.  S.  P.  U. 
meetings  appeared  in  the  Dundee  papers.  The 
Referee  for  May  3rd  also  said: 

The  women  are  doing  wonderful  election  work  and  not 
getting  half  the  credit  for  it  that  they  deserve.  Our  way- 
ward Winnie  does  not  underestimate  them  as  a  fighting 
force.  The  War  Song  of  the  conquering  Christabel  to  the 
worsted  Churchill  is  "  Bonnie  Dundee." 

"  And  Tremble,  false  Whig,  in  the  midst  of  your  glee, 
You  have  not  seen  the  last  of  my  bonnet  and  me." 

It  was  perhaps  to  guard  against  any  falling  off 
in  the  Liberal  Majority  that  on  May  7th,  two  days 
before  the  Dundee  poll,  Mr.  Asquith  announced  in 
the  House  of  Commons  that  the  establishment  of 
Old  Age  Pensions  was  to  be  the  outstanding  feature 
of  the  forthcoming  Budget.  On  polling  day,  May 
9th,  Liberal  men  and  women  stood  beside  the  Suffra- 
gettes at  the  polling  booths  with  handbills  which  were 
adapted  from  those  of  the  Suffragettes,  and  read 
"  Vote  for  Churchill,  and  never  mind  the  women," 
and  "  Put  Churchill  in  and  keep  the  Women  out." 

As  had  been  a  foregone  conclusion,  Mr.  Churchill 
was  returned  by  a  large  majority,  but  he  received 
more  than  2,000  votes  fewer  than  Mr.  Robertson, 
his  predecessor,  had  done  at  the  last  election,  and, 
whilst  fifty-eight  per  cent,  of  the  recorded  votes 
had  been  cast  for  Mr.  Robertson,  Mr.  Churchill  only 
received  forty-four  per  cent,  of  the  total,  and  there- 
fore represented  a  minority  of  the  electors. 

The  figures  were :  ^ 

1  At  the   General   Election  there  were  two   seats  to  be  con- 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  igo8  231 

Mr.  Winston  Churchill,  Liberal 7,079 

Sir   G.   Baxter,   Unionist 4,370 

Mr.  G.  H.  Stewart,  Labour 4,014 

Mr.  E.  Scrymageour,  Prohibitionist 655 

At  the  General  Election  the  figures  had  been : 

Mr.  E.  Robertson,  Liberal 9,276 

Mr.  Alex.  Wilkie,  Labour 6,833 

Mr.   Henry  Robson,   Liberal 6,122 

Mr.   E.   Shackleton,    Unionist 3,865 

Mr.  A.  D.  Smith,  Conservative 3,185 

The  results  of  the  other  elections  which  had  been 
fought  meanwhile,  were  as  follows : 
Dewsbury,  polling  day,  April  23rd. 

Mr.  W.  Runciman   (L.) 5,594 

Mr.  W.  B.  Carpenter   (C.) 4,078 

Mr.  B.  Turner   (Lab.) 2,446 

Liberal    majority    1,516 

The  figures  at  the  General  Election  had  been : 

Mr.   W.    Runciman    (L.) 6,764 

Mr.  W.  B.  Carpenter   (C.) 2,954 

Mr.  B.  Turner   (Lab.) 2,629 

Liberal   majority    3,'8lo 

Kincardineshire,  polling,  April  25th. 

The  Hon.  A.  Murray   (L.) 3,661 

Mr.  S.  G.  Gannell  (C.) 1,963 

Liberal   majority    1,698 

tested,  and  every  elector  had  two  votes  but  he  might  only  give 
one  vote  to  each  candidate. 


At  the  General  Election  the  figures  had  be^n : 

Mr.  W.  J.  Crombie  (L.) 3,877 

Mr.  S.  J.  Gannell   (C.) 1,524 

Liberal    majority    2,353 

JVolverhampton  (E),  polling  day,  May  5th. 

Mr.   G.   Thorne    (L.) 4,5 14 

Mr.  L.  S.  Amery   (C.) 4,506 

Liberal   majority    8 

At  the  General  Election  the  figures  had  been : 

Sir  H.  Fowler  (L.) 5,6io 

Mr.  L.  S.  Amery   (C.) 2,745 

Liberal    majority    2,865 

Montrose  Boroughs,  polling  day,  May  12th. 

Mr.  R.  V.  Harcourt  (L.) 3,083 

Mr.  Burgess   (Lab.) i,937 

Mr.  A.  H.  B.  Constable  (C.) 1,576 

Liberal    majority    1,146 

At  the  General  Election  the  figures  had  been : 

Mr.  J.  Morley    (L.) 4,416 

Col.   Sprott    (C.) 1,922 

Liberal   majority    2,494 

In  the  batch  of  by-elections  which  had  occurred 
since  Mr.  Asquith  had  become  Prime  Minister,  most 
of  them  as  a  consequence  of  the  change  in  the  minis- 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  igo8  233 

tcrlal  leadership,  the  Government  had  therefore 
suffered  a  reduction  of  6,663  votes  or  more  than 
eighteen  per  cent,  of  the  total  Liberal  poll  recorded 
in  the  same  constituencies  at  the  General  Election  of 
1906.  Though  the  party  leaders  denied  that  the 
Suffragette  campaign  had  affected  any  of  the  election 
results,  there  were  few  who  had  really  worked  in  the 
elections  who  believed  this  and  only  Cabinet  Minis- 
ters, newspaper  editors  and  the  Suffragettes  them- 
selves could  form  any  impression  of  the  large  num- 
ber of  influential  people  who  were  writing  to  one  or 
other  of  those  three  agencies  to  say  so.  At  the 
same  time  a  growing  spirit  of  disaffection  towards 
the  Government  was  showing  itself  amongst  Liberal 
women  and  Miss  Florence  Balgarnie's  declaration 
that  they  had  been  "  hewers  of  wood  and  the 
drawers  of  water  for  the  Liberal  Party  too  long,  and 
that  they  must  now  look  out  for  themselves,"  found 
a  wide  echo. 

An  ominous  resolution  had  now  been  set  down 
on  the  agenda  for  the  Women's  Liberal  Federation 
Conference  on  behalf  of  the  Cuckfield  Association 
which  stated  that  "  Unless  Women's  Suffrage  is 
granted  before  the  dissolution  of  Parliament,  the 
time  will  have  arrived  for  a  definite  refusal  on  the 
part  of  Liberal  women  to  work  at  Parliamentary 
elections."  These  things,  doubtless,  led  Mr.  As- 
quith  to  receive  on  May  20th,  a  deputation  of  Lib- 
eral Members  of  Parliament  who  urged  him  to  grant 
the  few  days  required  for  the  carrying  into  law  of 
Mr.  Stanger's  Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill,  which 
earlier  in  the  Session  had  already  passed  its  second 
reading  by  so  large  a  majority.  In  reply  Mr.  As- 
quith  said  that  he  himself  did  not  wish  to  see  women 


enfranchised,  and  that  it  was  impossible  for  the 
Government  to  give  any  time  for  Mr.  Stanger's  Bill, 
but  he  added,  "  barring  accidents,  I  regard  it  as  a 
duty,  indeed  a  binding  obligation  on  this  Govern- 
ment, before  the  present  Parliament  comes  to  an  end, 
to  bring  in  a  really  effective  scheme  for  the  reform 
of  our  electoral  system."  Having  referred  to  what 
he  considered  to  be  the  defects  in  the  existing  elec- 
toral provisions,  dwelling  especially  on  that  of  plural 
voting,  he  explained  that,  though  the  Government 
intended  to  introduce  a  Reform  Bill,  Woman's 
Suffrage  was  to  have  no  place  in  it,  but  that  when 
the  Bill  had  been  laid  before  the  House,  those  Mem- 
bers of  Parliament  who  believed  in  giving  Votes 
to  Women  might  move  an  amendment  to  that  effect. 
If  this  were  done,  he  did  not  consider  it  would  be  any 
of  the  Government's  duty  to  oppose  such  an  amend- 
ment, because  two-thirds  of  the  Cabinet  were  of  the 
opinion  that  women  should  vote.  But  though  Mr. 
Asquith  began  by  stating  that  the  Government  would 
not  oppose  the  amendment  if  it  were  approved  by 
the  House  of  Commons,  he  went  on  to  attach  cer- 
tain conditions  to  this  promise.  These  were,  that 
any  proposed  Women's  Suffrage  amendment  **  must 
be  on  democratic  lines,"  and  **  it  must  clearly  have 
behind  it  the  support  —  the  strong  and  undoubted 
support  —  of  the  women  of  the  country  as  well  as  of 
the  present  electorate." 

Christabel  Pankhurst  at  once  exposed  the  unsatis- 
factory nature  of  Mr.  Asquith's  statement  through 
the  medium  of  the  Press.  She  pointed  out  that  he 
had  not  shown  sufficient  reason  for  his  refusal  to  give 
facilities  for  the  discussion  of  the  Women's  Enfran- 
chisement Bill,  and  recalled  the  fact  that  after  the 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  igo8  235 

second  reading  of  the  Women's  Bill  had  been  car- 
ried, a  London  Electoral  Reform  Bill  had  been  in- 
troduced by  a  private  Member,  and  that  the  Govern- 
ment had  promised  to  carry  this  latter  Bill  into  law, 
if  it  should  pass  the  second  reading.  The  House 
had,  however,  rejected  the  London  Electoral  Bill, 
and  the  time  which  the  Government  had  designed  to 
give  that  measure  might  therefore  be  handed  over  to 
the  Votes  for  Women  Bill.  In  regard  to  the  de- 
tails of  Mr.  Asquith's  promise,  she  explained  that 
women  could  not  wait  contentedly  for  the  introduc- 
tion of  the  proposed  Reform  Bill,  because,  as  Mr. 
Asquith  had  himself  foreshadowed,  in  his  words 
**  barring  accidents,"  some  unforeseen  turn  of  events 
might  precipitate  a  General  Election  before  it  had 
been  introduced.  Even  if  the  Reform  Bill  were  ac- 
tually laid  before  Parliament  the  position  of  the 
Government  with  regard  to  Women's  Enfranchise- 
ment was  far  from  satisfactory.  Apart  from  the 
fact  that  their  refusal  to  make  this  question  a  part 
of  the  original  Reform  Bill  was  certainly  insulting 
to  women,  the  promise  not  to  oppose  an  amendment 
moved  by  a  private  Member  and  carried  by  the 
House  of  Commons  could  not  be  relied  on,  because 
two  conditions  had  been  attached  to  it.  The  first 
condition  was  that  it  should  be  framed  on  "  demo- 
cratic lines."  But  Mr.  Asquith  had  not  defined  the 
term  **  democratic "  and  there  was  reason  to  fear 
that  the  Government  intended  to  resist  the  proposal 
to  enfranchise  women  on  the  terms  applying  to  men 
voters  to  which  a  majority  of  the  House  of  Commons 
had  pledged  itself.  Mr.  Asquith  was  an  anti-suffra- 
gist, and,  according  to  the  vague  form  of  his  state- 
ment, it  was  open  to  him  to  object  to  any  and  every 


amendment  except  one  that  was  of  so  broad  a  nature 
that  it  could  scarcely  pass  the  House  of  Commons 
and  would  certainly  be  thrown  out  by  the  House  of 

The  second  condition  was  that  the  women  of  the 
country  and  the  present  electorate  should  show  their 
strong  and  undoubted  desire  for  a  measure  of 
women's  enfranchisement,  but  Mr.  Asquith  had  neg- 
lected to  indicate  how  this  desire  should  be  expressed. 
The  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  contended 
that  the  women  had  already,  by  demonstrating,  pe- 
titioning, and  going  to  prison  for  their  cause,  shown 
a  very  strong  and  very  earnest  desire  for  the  fran- 
chise, and  that  the  electors  in  the  by-elections  had 
also  shown  their  belief  in  the  justice  of  Votes  for 
Women.  But  Mr.  Asquith  had  hitherto  refused  to 
admit  that  such  a  desire  had  been  manifested,  and  it 
was  possible  that  he  would  always  refuse  to  recog- 
nise its  existence.  Even  if,  in  spite  of  all  obstacles, 
the  Woman's  Suffrage  amendment  were  safely  car- 
ried and  secured  a  place  in  the  Reform  Bill,  the  Bill 
Itself  was  certain  to  prove  a  highly  controversial 
measure.  It  was  to  deal  with  many  other  electoral 
questions  besides  that  of  Women's  Suffrage,  and  if, 
as  was  only  too  probable,  it  were  shipwrecked  upon 
one  of  these,  the  Woman's  claim  to  vote  would  go 
down  with  the  rest. 

The  opinion  of  Christabel  Pankhurst  and  that  of 
the  other  leaders  of  the  Women's  Social  and  Polit- 
ical Union  appeared  in  the  Press  next  morning  and 
in  the  Conservative  papers  there  were  other  warn- 
ings; the  Standard  plainly  said,  "Of  course  Mr. 
Asquith  does  not  intend  to  carry  such  a  change." 
But  most  of  the  Liberal  papers  upheld  Mr.  Asquith. 

Cartoon  from  Fwch  on  Mr.  Asquith's  false  promise. 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  1908  237 

The  Daily  News  called  for  a  cessation  of  the  mili- 
tant tactics  of  the  Suffragettes  and  referring  to  Chris- 
tabel's  objections  said,  "  A  more  mature  and  experi- 
enced leader  than  Miss  Christabel  Pankhurst  would 
have  understood  that  the  pledge  which  Mr.  Asquith 
has  given  is  quite  exceptionally  definite  and  bind- 
ing." The  Star  said,  "  The  meaning  of  Mr.  As- 
quith's  pledge  is  plain:  Women's  Suffrage  will  be 
passed  through  the  House  of  Commons  before  the 
present  Government  goes  to  the  country." 

Events  have  already  proved  how  rightly  Christa- 
bel and  the  other  Suffragette  leaders  had  summed  up 
the  situation,  for  two  General  Elections  have  since 
come  and  gone  and  still  women  remain  unenfran- 
chised and  the  promised  Reform  Bill  has  not  yet  been 
introduced.  But  at  the  time  only  too  many  women 
were  deceived  by  Mr.  Asquith's  false  promise. 
Lady  Carlisle  presided  over  the  Liberal  Women's 
Conference  which  met  next  morning.  ''  This  is  a 
glorious  day  of  rejoicing,"  she  cried.  "  Our  great 
Prime  Minister,  all  honour  to  him,  has  opened  a  way 
to  us  by  which  we  can  enter  into  that  inheritance 
from  which  we  have  been  too  long  debarred."  She 
swept  the  majority  of  the  women  onward  with  her. 
A  resolution  of  deepest  gratitude  to  Mr.  Asquith  and 
the  Cabinet  was  carried  with  every  sign  of  enthu- 
siastic joy,  and  the  Cuckfield  resolution  was  lost  by 
an  overwhelming  majority. 

Whilst  the  Liberal  women  were  thus  thanking  the 
Prime  Minister  for  his  worthless  *'  pledge,"  another 
body  of  women  were  striving  to  expose  his  insin- 
cerity, for,  before  ten  o'clock  that  morning,  the  mem- 
bers of  the  Women's  Freedom  League  were  at  the 
door  of  number  ten  Downing  Street  armed  with  a 


petition  asking  for  an  assurance  either  that  the  Gov- 
ernment would  give  facilities  for  the  passing  of  a 
Women's  Suffrage  measure  or  would  promise  to  in- 
clude Women's  Suffrage  in  a  general  Government 
Reform  Bill  to  be  introduced  before  the  end  of  the 

Mr.  Asquith  refused  to  give  an  answer  and  sent 
out  police  to  clear  the  women  away.  Eventually 
they  were  arrested  and  sent  to  prison  for  from  seven 
to  twenty-one  days. 

Meanwhile  at  Stirling  Burghs,  the  last  of  the  re- 
cent series  of  by-elections,  the  Liberals  were  using 
Mr.  Asquith's  false  promise  to  counteract  the  influ- 
ence of  the  Suffragettes.  The  Women's  .  Freedom 
League  had  wasted  no  time  in  making  their  protest 
to  expose  it  and  the  Women's  Social  and  Political 
Union  had  also  proclaimed  it  to  be  worthless,  but 
polling  was  already  taking  place,  and  on  every  news- 
paper placard  appeared  the  words:  "Premier's 
great  Reform  Bill,  Votes  for  Women,"  and  there 
was  no  time  for  the  Suffragettes  to  undeceive  the 

When  the  result  of  the  poll  was  declared,  it  was 
found  that  the  Liberal  majority  of  630,  that  had  been 
cast  for  the  late  Prime  Minister  in  the  General  Elec- 
tion, had  been  more  than  doubled.  The  actual 
Liberal  poll  had  also  increased  from  2,715  to  3,873. 
Thus  the  constant  falling  off  in  the  Liberal  vote 
which  had  manifested  itself  through  so  many  elec- 
tions was  suddenly  checked. 

Mr.  Asquith's  promise  had  done  its  work  at  the 
Stirling  by-election  and  had  secured  the  loyalty  of 
the  Liberal  Women  for  another  year. 

On  Wednesday,  May  27th,  just  a  week  after  the 

APRIL  AND  MAY,  1908  239 

day  on  which  it  had  been  given  to  the  deputation  of 
Liberal  members  who  supported  Woman's  Suffrage, 
Mr.  Asquith  was  questioned  in  the  House  of  Com- 
mons by  Mr.  Alfred  Hutton,  a  Liberal  Member, 
who  was  opposed  to  it.  Mr.  Hutton  asked  whether 
he  considered  himself  pledged  to  introduce  the  pro- 
posed Reform  Bill  during  the  present  Parliament, 
whether  in  that  event  he  would  give  an  opportunity 
for  raising  the  question  of  Woman's  Suffrage,  and 
whether,  if  a  Woman's  Suffrage  amendment  to  the 
Government  Reform  Bill  were  carried,  it  would 
then  become  part  of  the  Government  policy  in  rela- 
tion to  the  franchise.  After  some  close  cross-ques- 
tioning, in  which  he  had  tried  hard  to  evade  the 
point,  Mr.  Asquith  finally  replied,  *'  My  Honourable 
Friend  has  asked  me  a  contingent  question  with  re- 
gard to  a  remote  and  speculative  future."  Thus 
was  the  hollowness  of  the  vaunted  pledge  exposed. 

The  Liberal  papers  still  called  upon  the  women 
to  support  the  Cabinet,  but  in  spite  of  this  they 
showed  that  they  found  it  difficult  to  uphold  the 
trickery  of  their  leader,  and  it  was  the  Liberal  Daily 
Chronicle  that  said  "  the  skill  and  dexterity  of  the 
Prime  Minister  in  parrying  embarrassing  questions 
was  much  admired,  but  not  a  few  loyal  supporters 
of  the  Government  felt  that  the  occasion  was  one 
that  demanded  candour  rather  than  adroitness." 

JUNE,  1908 

How  Mr.  Gladstone's  Challenge  Was  Accepted. 
The  Procession  of  13,000  Suffragists  on  June  13TH. 
The  Great  Hyde  Park  Demonstration  on  the 
Twenty-first  of  June,  and  the  Demonstration  of 
Protest  in  Parliament  Square  on  June  30TH. 

The  time  was  now  approaching  when  the  women 
were  to  take  up  Mr.  Gladstone's  challenge  to  them 
to  show  that  they  could  rival  the  great  franchise 
demonstrations  which  men  had  held  in  demanding 
the  three  Reform  Acts  of  1832,  1867  and  1885. 
In  the  Autumn  of  1907,  long  before  the  challenge 
had  been  made,  the  Women's  Social  and  Political 
Union  had  determined  to  hold  a  record  meeting  in 
Hyde  Park  on  Sunday,  June  21st,  1908.  The 
greatest  meeting  that  had  ever  yet  been  held  there 
was  said  to  have  numbered  72,000,  but  it  was  de- 
termined that  at  the  Women's  demonstration  there 
must  be  gathered  at  least  a  quarter  of  a  million  peo- 
ple. The  organisation  of  this  great  project  was  the 
work  of  many  months  and  a  large  part  of  this  fell 
to  the  share  of  our  devoted  Treasurer,  Mrs.  Pethick 
Lawrence,  her  husband,  and  Mrs.  Drummond  who 
now  began  to  be  called  our  "  general."  Mr.  Law- 
rence carefully  thought  out  the  scheme  for  the  seven 
great  processions  which  were  to  march  into  Hyde 
Park  by  seven   separate   gates.     To   Mrs.   Pethick 


JUNE,  igo8  241 

Lawrence  was  primarily  due  the  introduction  of  the 
colours,  purple,  white  and  green,  which  the  Union 
now  adopted  for  its  own.  The  colours  at  once  se- 
cured a  most  amazing  popular  success  for,  although 
they  were  not  even  thought  of  until  the  middle  of 
May,  before  the  month  of  June  arrived  they  were 
known  throughout  the  length  and  breadth  of  the 

As  Treasurer  of  the  Union,  Mrs.  Lawrence  bore 
upon  her  shoulders  the  special  responsibility  of  meet- 
ing the  very  heavy  cost  of  the  demonstration  as 
well  as  the  other  great  expenses  which  were  now  be- 
ing Incurred;  but  that  magnetic  power  of  hers  which 
had  hitherto  proved  so  invaluable  to  the  movement 
was  as  infallible  as  ever.  Whatever  the  sum  she 
asked,  it  was  immediately  paid  down.  To  make  the 
forthcoming  demonstrations  known  to  everyone  an 
immense  poster,  measuring  thirteen  feet  by  ten  feet, 
containing  the  photographs  of  the  twenty  women 
who  were  to  preside  at  the  twenty  platforms  from 
which  the  audience  was  to  be  addressed,  as  well  as  a 
map  showing  the  route  of  each  of  the  seven  proces- 
sions and  a  plan  of  the  meeting  place  in  Hyde  Park 
was  displayed  upon  the  hoardings  In  London  and  all 
the  principal  provincial  towns  at  a  cost  to  the  Union 
of  more  than  £1,000.  Our  organisers  stationed  in 
various  parts  of  the  country  arranged  for  thirty  spe- 
cial trains  to  run  from  seventy  different  towns  in 
order  to  carry  contingents  of  women  demonstrators 
from  the  various  provincial  centres.     At  the  same 

1  Other  suflFrage  societies  soon  afterwards  also  adopted  col- 
ours.   The  Women's  Freedom  League  chose  yellow,  white  and 
green,  and  the  National  Union  of  Women's  Suffrage  Societies 
red,  white  and  green, 


time  London  itself  was  systematically  organised  for 
the  demonstration.  My  experiences  as  organiser  of 
the  Chelsea  district  which  included  also  Fulham  and 
Wandsworth,  are  vividly  present  with  me  as  I  write. 
At  many  of  the  open  air  pitches  from  which  we  then 
spoke,  no  Women's  Suffrage  meetings  had  ever  been 
held  before,  but  wherever  we  went  our  experiences 
were,  in  their  main  essentials,  always  the  same.  Our 
first  meeting  was,  usually,  almost  wholly  a  fight  to 
subdue  a  continued  uproar.  On  more  than  one  oc- 
casion the  little  box  or  the  chair  used  as  a  platform 
was  overturned  by  a  gang  of  hooligan  youths,  and 
the  meeting  had  to  be  abandoned.  But,  whatever 
may  have  happened  at  the  first  meeting  in  a  fresh 
place,  we  always  found  that  at  the  second  meeting 
the  majority  of  the  audience  were  sympathetic.  At 
the  third  meeting  all  was  harmony,  and  we  were 
generally  seen  to  our  homeward  trams  or  busses  by 
cheering  crowds. 

Those  splendid  people,  the  Suffragettes  of  Ken- 
sington, not  only  contrived  to  carry  on  a  constant 
campaign  of  meetings  but  at  the  same  time  to  make 
all  their  own  banners  and  bannerettes. 

In  the  meantime  the  National  Union  of  Women's 
Suffrage  Societies,  in  conjunction  with  a  number  of 
other  organisations,  had  decided  to  organise  a 
women's  procession,  and  on  June  13th,  a  week  and 
a  day  before  the  Hyde  Park  demonstration,  some 
13,000  Suffragists  assembled  on  the  Embankment 
and  marched  to  the  Albert  Hall  where  a  meeting 
was  held.  It  was  a  striking  pageant  with  its  many 
gorgeous  banners,  richly  embroidered  and  fashioned 
of  velvets,  silks  and  every  kind  of  beautiful  material 
and  the  small  bannerettes  showing  as  innumerable 

JUNE,  igo8  243 

patches  of  brilliant  and  lovely  colour,  each  one  vary- 
ing both  in  shape  and  hue.  Seventy  of  the  large  ban- 
ners had  been  prepared  by  the  Artists  League  for 
Women's  Suffrage.  Some  virere  blazoned  with  the  fig- 
ures of  women  great  in  history,  amongst  them,  Boa- 
dicea,  Joan  of  Arc  and  Queen  Elizabeth;  others 
bore  emblems  commemorating  women's  heroic  deeds, 
or  reforming  achievements, —  Elizabeth  Fry,  Lydia 
Becker,  and  Mary  WoUstonecraft,  being  amongst 
those  recalled.  Walking  in  the  procession  were  many 
of  Lydia  Becker's  comrades  and  contemporaries,  in- 
cluding the  aged  Miss  Emily  Davies,  Dr.  Garrett  An- 
derson, and  her  sister,  Mrs.  Fawcett,  the  President  of 
the  National  Union  of  Suffrage  Societies.  After 
these  came  a  contingent  of  international  Suffragists; 
Australians,  Americans  with  their  Stars  and  Stripes 
headed  by  Dr.  Anna  Shaw,  and  representatives  from 
Hungary,  Russia,  South  Africa,  and  other  countries, 
each  with  their  national  flags  and  colours.  The  pro- 
fessional women  were  led  by  Mrs.  Ayrton  and  other 
scientists  and  a  great  band  of  medical  women  in  their, 
splendid  robes  of  crimson  and  black,  with  hoods  of 
purple,  red  and  blue.  Other  graduates  followed  and 
the  representatives  of  Newnham  and  Girton  were  in 
great  force.  Amongst  the  women  writers,  headed 
by  the  Scrivener's  banner,  were  Beatrice  Harraden, 
Elizabeth  Robins  and  Evelyn  Sharpe.  Then  came 
the  artists,  the  actresses.  Next,  the  nurses,  all  in 
uniform,  and,  af^ier  these,  a  host  of  others,  garden- 
ers, pharmacists,  physical  trainers,  typists  and  short- 
hand writers,  shop  assistants,  factory  workers,  and 
home-makers.  Next  came  the  militant  Women's 
Freedom  League,  the  Women's  Co-operative  Guild, 
the  National  Union  of  Women  Workers,  and  the 


members  of  various  women's  organisations  connected 
with  the  political  parties  Including  the  Women's 
Liberal  Associations,  and  the  women  of  the  Inde- 
pendent Labour  Party  and  the  Fabian  Society.  Al- 
together the  procession  was  acknowledged  to  be  the 
most  picturesque  and  effective  political  pageant  that 
had  ever  been  seen  in  this  country,  and  every  news- 
paper spoke  of  its  impressive  dignity  and  beauty. 

Now  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  and 
all  whom  they  could  press  Into  the  service  were  busily 
engaged  on  a  ten  days'  crusade  for  the  winding  up  of 
the  Hyde  Park  Demonstration  campaign.  How  the 
women  worked!  They  held  innumerable  meetings; 
they  went  out  canvassing  from  door  to  door;  they 
stood  In  the  streets  with  flags  and  posters;  they  dis- 
tributed handbills  broadcast ;  chalked  announcements 
upon  the  pavements  and  met  the  workmen's  trains  to 
give  out  little  purple,  white  and  green  mock  railway 
tickets,  a  million  of  which  had  been  printed.  On  the 
Thursday  evening  before  the  Demonstration,  Mrs. 
Drummond  and  a  dozen  other  members  of  the  Union 
set  sail  for  the  Houses  of  Parliament  In  a  steam 
launch  decorated  with  banners  and  posters  announc- 
ing the  Demonstration.  At  the  little  tables  on  the 
terrace  many  members.  Including  Mr.  Lloyd  George, 
were  entertaining  their  lady  friends  at  afternoon  tea, 
when  the  sound  of  a  band  playing  heralded  the  Suffra- 
gettes' arrival.  Everyone  crowded  to  the  water's 
edge  as  the  boat  stopped,  and  Mrs.  Drummond  be- 
gan to  speak.  She  invited  all  Members  of  Parlia- 
ment, and  especially  Cabinet  Ministers,  to  join  the 
womens'  procession  to  Hyde  Park  on  the  twenty-first 
of  June,  assuring  them  that  it  was  their  duty  to  In- 
form themselves  as  to  the  feelings  of  the  people. 

JUNE,  igo8  245 

She  twitted  the  Government  who  were  supposed  to 
be  democratic  with  remaining  always  behind  barred 
gates  under  the  protection  of  the  police,  and  urged, 
"  Come  to  the  Park  on  Sunday;  you  shall  have  police 
protection  there  also,  and  we  promise  you  that  there 
shall  be  no  arrests."  The  Members  appeared  both 
pleased  and  interested  and  many  more  came  flocking 
out  to  listen,  but  somebody,  a  waiter  it  was  said,  hur- 
riedly telephoned  to  the  police  and  in  a  few  moments 
Inspector  Scantlebury  with  a  number  of  officers  ap- 
peared on  the  Terrace,  whilst  at  the  same  time  one  of 
the  police  boats  hove  in  sight.  Seeing  this,  the  Suf- 
fragettes steamed  away. 

On  Sunday,  the  21st,  we  were  busy  early  In  the 
morning  for  the  processions  were  to  start  between  one 
and  two ;  the  people  were  expected  to  begin  to  assem- 
ble at  least  a  couple  of  hours  before  that  time.  All 
London  seemed  to  have  turned  out  to  see  us,  and  all 
along  the  Chelsea  Embankment,  which  was  thronged 
with  people,  were  coffee  stands,  costermongers,  and 
hawkers  selling  badges  and  programmes  in  the  pur- 
ple, white  and  green.  When  the  moment  for  start- 
ing came  our  Chelsea  procession  numbered  some  seven 
thousand  people,  but  the  dense  crowds  of  by-standers 
marched  with  us  too,  and  grew  in  a  countless  number 
as  we  moved  along,  so  that,  instead  of  one  procession 
we  had  formed  three  —  the  central  one  being  composed 
almost  entirely  of  women,  wearing  white  dresses  and 
scarfs  of  purple,  white  and  green,  and  carrying  ban- 
ners in  the  same  colours.  The  whole  road  was  filled 
with  people  moving  with  us,  and  from  balconies,  win- 
dows and  tops  of  busses  people  cheered  and  waved. 
The  same  thing  was  happening  in  each  of  the  other 
six  districts.     At  the  head  of  each  procession  rode 


policemen  on  horseback  and  numbers  of  constables 
walked  on  either  side  of  the  ranks  in  order  to  keep 
the  way  clear.  Six  thousand  police  in  all  accom- 
panied the  seven  processions,  the  police  authorities 
being  most  helpful  and  courteous  toward  us  through- 
out the  arrangements. 

In  Hyde  Park  the  railings  for  over  a  quarter  of  a 
square  mile  had  been  taken  up  for  us  in  order  to  add 
a  further  open  space  to  that  which  is  usually  open  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  the  Reformer's  Tree.  In  the 
centre  of  this  meeting-ground  a  furniture  van  was 
stationed  to  serve  as  an  impromptu  Conning  Tower. 
Those  who  stood  there  watching  saw,  first  the  fine 
procession  from  Marylebone  with  great  crowds 
marching  in  on  either  side  sweep  into  the  quiet  grassy 
space,  and  then,  one  after  another,  from  the  seven 
different  gates,  the  rest  of  the  seven  processions  with 
their  accompanying  armies  come  streaming  in.  Be- 
fore we  arrived  from  Chelsea  the  whole  ground  was 
a  surging  mass  of  people,  and  it  was  with  difficulty 
that  we  made  our  way  to  the  platform  which  had 
been  reserved  for  us.  Once  we  gained  it  we  clam- 
bered hastily  on  to  our  lorry  and  looked  around  with 
wondering  and  astonished  gaze.  As  far  as  the  eye 
could  reach  was  one  vast  mass  of  human  beings  — 
not  black,  as  crowds  usually  are, —  but  coloured,  like 
a  great  bed  of  flowers  because  of  the  thousands  and 
thousands  of  women  all  dressed  in  the  lightest  and 
daintiest  of  summer  garments,  whilst  even  the  men 
had  most  of  them  come  out  in  cool  greys  and  were 
wearing  straw  hats.  Over  the  whole  of  the  area 
there  was  to  be  seen  not  a  single  blade  of  grass. 
Who  could  attempt  to  estimate  the  number  of  peo- 

JUNE,  1908  247 

pie  that  were  present?  They  were  innumerable; 
they  defied  calculation  and  there  was  no  one  of  us 
who  had  ever  imagined  that  we  should  see  so  many 
people  gathered  together.  The  sky  was  a  perfect 
blue;  the  sun  poured  down  on  us;  everyone  seemed 
to  be  in  holiday  mood,  just  as  they  were  in  holiday 
dress,  and  during  the  time  in  which  the  people 
waited  for  the  speakers  to  begin,  perfect  good  hu- 
mour reigned.  Then  bugles  were  sounded  from  the 
Conning  Tower  and  the  speeches  at  each  of  the 
twenty  platforms  began. 

Probably  less  than  half  the  people  could  hear  the 
speakers,  but  that  was  of  small  account.  They  had 
come  there  to  show  their  sympathy  with  Votes  for 
Women  and  to  take  part  in  the  greatest  demonstra- 
tion the  world  had  ever  seen,  and  if  they  stood  there 
the  whole  of  the  afternoon  without  catching  a  single 
sentence,  they  had  been  well  rewarded.  At  most  of 
the  platforms  there  was  nothing  but  the  kindliest 
sympathy,  except  at  the  platforms  of  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst  and  Christabel,  where  a  number  of  rowdy  and 
ignorant  young  men  attempted  to  prevent  the  speak- 
ers from  being  heard. 

At  five  o'clock  the  bugle  sounded  and  the  Resolu- 
tion calling  upon  the  Government  to  give  votes  to 
women  without  delay  was  put  and  carried  at  every 
platform,  in  most  cases  without  dissent.  Then  the 
bugle  was  heard  again  and  the  cry,  "  One,  two, 
three  1  "  and  the  assembled  multitude,  as  they  had 
been  asked  to  do,  shouted,  "  Votes  for  Women  I  " 
three  times,  and  then  that  great  and  wonderful  gath- 
ering began  slowly  to  disperse. 

Next  morning  every  newspaper  devoted  long  col- 


umns  to  the  demonstration.  In  the  course  of  a  long 
descriptive  account  the  Special  Correspondent  of  the 
Times  said : 

Its  organisers  had  counted  on  an  audience  of  250,000. 
That  expectation  was  certainly  fulfilled  and  probably  it 
was  doubled,  and  it  would  be  difficult  to  contradict  anyone 
who  asserted  that  it  was  trebled.  Like  the  distances  and 
numbers  of  the  stars,  the  facts  were  beyond  the  threshold  of 

The  Standard  said : 

From  first  to  last,  it  was  a  great  meeting,  daringly  con- 
ceived, splendidly  stage-managed,  and  successfully  carried 
out.  Hyde  park  has  probably  never  seen  a  greater  crowd  of 

The  Daily  News  said : 

There  is  no  combination  of  words  which  will  convey  an 
adequate  idea  of  the  immensity  of  the  crowd  around  the 

Tht, Daily  Express: 

The  Women  Suffragists  provided  London  yesterday  with 
one  of  the  most  wonderful  and  astonishing  sights  that  have 
ever  been  seen  since  the  days  of  Boadicea.  .  .  .  It  is 
probable  that  so  many  people  never  before  stood  in  one 
square  mass  anywhere  in  England.  Men  who  saw  the 
great  Gladstone  meeting  years  ago  said  that  compared  with 
yesterday's  multitude  it  was  as  nothing. 

The  Daily  Chronicle  said : 

Never,  on  the  admission  of  the  most  experienced  observers, 
has  so  vast  a  throng  gathered  in  London  to  witness  an  out- 
lay of  political  force. 

I  i 

o  ^~' 


JUNE,  1908  249 

After  the  great  meeting  was  over,  its  organisers 
returned  to  Clement's  Inn  and  Christabel  Pankhurst 
immediately  wrote  to  the  Prime  Minister  forwarding 
the  Resolution :  "  That  this  meeting  calls  upon  the 
Government  to  grant  votes  to  women  without  de- 
lay," which  had  just  been  carried  by  that  great  gather- 
ing. At  the  same  time  she  asked  "  what  action 
the  Government  would  take  in  response  to  the  de- 

Mr.  Asquith  replied  that  he  had  nothing  to  add 
to  the  statement  —  the  so-called  promise  of  a  Re- 
form Bill,  which  he  had  made  to  the  deputation  of 
Members  of  Parliament  on  May  20th. 

The  wonderful  Hyde  Park  Demonstration,  the 
greatest  meeting  that  had  ever  been  held,  and  the 
impressive  procession  of  the  Women's  Societies  both 
of  which  had  been  held  within  a  few  days'  space  had 
therefore,  it  seemed,  made  no  impression  upon  the 
Government.  Seeing,  therefore,  that  to  argue  fur- 
ther would  be  mere  waste  of  time,  the  Women's  So- 
cial and  Political  Union  immediately  decided  to  take 
action.  Hitherto,  through  all  the  hard  battles  which 
the  Suffragettes  had  fought  outside  the  House  of 
Commons,  they  had  never  asked  the  general  public 
to  come  to  their  aid,  but,  now  that  the  great  peoples' 
demonstration  in  Hyde  Park  had  been  thus  con- 
temptuously ignored,  it  was  decided  to  call  upon 
both  men  and  women  to  attend  another  monster 
meeting  on  June  30th,  to  be  held  this  time  in  Parlia- 
ment Square,  in  order  that  the  Government  could 
not  fail  to  see. 

The  Commissioner  of  Police  replied  by  issuing  a 
warning  to  the  public  not  to  meet  in  Parliament 
Square,  on  the  ground  that  danger  would  necessarily 


arise  from  the  assembling  of  a  large  number  of  per- 
sons in  that  restricted  area,  through  which  the  way 
must  be  kept  for  Members  of  Parliament. 

Meanwhile,  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  again  and  again 
urged  Mr.  Asquith  to  receive  a  deputation,  but  he 
still  refused,  and  at  last  he  was  informed  that  the 
deputation  would  start  from  the  Women's  Parlia- 
ment on  June  30th,  and  would  wait  upon  him  at  the 
House  of  Commons  at  half  past  four  that  afternoon. 
Once  more  he  returned  a  refusal  to  see  the  women, 
but  Mrs.  Pankhurst  herself  replied,  as  their  leader, 
that  the  deputation  would  arrive  at  the  appointed 
hour.  Next  day  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Mrs.  Pethick 
Lawrence  and  eleven  other  women  set  out  from  the 
Caxton  Hall.  At  the  main  entrance  of  the  building 
Superintendent  Wells  was  waiting  with  a  body  of 
some  twenty  constables  and,  at  his  orders,  as  soon  as 
the  thirteen  women  had  emerged,  the  doors  were 
locked  and  even  the  Pressmen  begged  in  vain  to  be 
released.  Then  the  Superintendent  constituted  him- 
self the  leader  and  protector  of  the  deputation  and 
led  them  quickly  through  the  cheering  crowds  who 
pressed  forward  pushing  and  struggling  to  catch  a 
glimpse  of  the  little  band  of  women.  Straight  up 
Victoria  Street  he  led  them  and  right  to  the  door  of 
the  Stranger's  Entrance  where  they  were  met  by  the 
burly  and  familiar  form  of  Inspector  Scantlebury 
surrounded  by  his  minions.  He  stepped  forward  and 
addressed  Mrs.  Pankhurst  gravely,  "  Are  you  Mrs. 
Pankhurst,  and  is  this  your  deputation?"  he  asked. 
She  answered,  "  Yes,"  and  he  said,  "  I  have  orders 
to  exclude  you  from  the  House  of  Commons." 
"Has  Mr.  Asquith  received  my  letter?"  she  ques- 
tioned him  in  turn,  and,  replying,  **  Yes,"  the  In- 

JUNE,  igo8  251 

spector  drew  the  document  from  his  pocket,  adding 
in  response  to  a  further  inquiry,  that  Mr.  Asquith 
had  sent  no  message  of  any  kind  by  way  of  reply. 
Then  Inspector  Scantlebury  turned  away  and  walked 
into  the  House,  leaving  behind  him  a  strong  force  of 
police  to  guard  the  door.  For  an  instant  or  two  the 
women  stood  there  baffled,  but  they  had  to  remember 
the  resolve  that  this  effort  to  interview  the  Prime 
Minister  should  be  entirely  peaceful.  Moreover, 
there  was  the  Mass  Meeting  of  the  evening.  They 
therefore  merely  turned  and  made  their  way  back 
to  the  Caxton  Hall.  Meanwhile  larger  and  larger 
crowds  were  flocking  towards  Parliament  from  every 
direction,  and  long  before  eight  o'clock,  the  time  at 
which  they  had  been  asked  to  assemble,  it  was  es- 
timated by  the  newspapers  that  more  than  100,000 
people  had  collected  in  Parliament  Square.  The  po- 
lice had  made  most  extensive  preparations  to  prevent 
any  meeting  being  held  and  it  was  said  that  more 
than  5,000  ordinary  constables  and  upwards  of  fifty 
mounted  men  had  been  requisitioned  for  this  pur- 

When,  at  eight  o'clock,  the  women  sallied  forth 
in  groups  from  the  Caxton  Hall  to  speak  to  the 
great  multitude  that  had  assembled  in  response  to 
their  appeal,  the  scene  was  already  becoming  turbu- 
lent. There  were  no  platforms  to  speak  from,  and 
it  would  have  been  useless  to  provide  them,  for  the 
police  would  instantly  have  dragged  them  from  the 
ground.  But  it  is  possible  to  hold  a  meeting  without 
official  sanction  and  to  make  speeches  without  plat- 
forms and  the  women  bravely  essayed  the  task. 
Some  of  them  clung  to  the  railings  of  Palace  Yard 
to  raise  themselves  above  the  crowd,  others  mounted 


the  steps  of  the  offices  in  Broad  Sanctuary,  others 
the  steps  of  the  Government  buildings  at  the  top  of 
Parliament  Street  opposite  the  Abbey,  whilst  others 
again  merely  spoke  from  the  pavement  wherever  and 
whenever  the  police  would  cease  for  an  instant  from 
driving  them  along.  Every  woman  who  attempted 
to  speak  was  torn  by  the  harrying  constables  from 
the  spot  where  she  had  found  a  foothold  and  was 
either  hurled  aside  and  flung  into  the  dense  masses 
that  were  being  kept  constantly  on  the  move  or 
placed  under  arrest.  Meanwhile,  the  crowd  was  al- 
ways* surging  and  swaying  forward  shouting  out 
mingled  cheers  and  jeers. 

Some  groups  of  the  men  stood  with  linked  arms 
around  the  women  who  were  striving  to  make 
speeches,  bodies  of  others  pushed  little  band  of  Suf- 
fragettes forward  against  the  rows  of  constables  with 
cries  of  "  Votes  of  Women,"  "  we'll  get  you  to  the 
House  of  Commons,"  and  "  back  up  the  women  and 
push  them  through  1  "  Again  and  again  the  police 
lines  were  broken  and  again  and  again  the  mounted 
men  charged  and  beat  the  people  back.  Mr.  Lloyd 
George,  Mr.  Winston  Churchill,  Mr.  Herbert  Glad- 
stone, Lord  Rosebery  and  other  members  of  both 
Houses  stood  in  Palace  Yard,  and  near  the  Strangers' 
entrance  watching  the  scene.  As  it  became  dark  the 
disorder  grew,  and  gangs  of  roughs  who  supported 
neither  the  government  nor  the  women  kept  making 
concerted  rushes,  sweeping  the  rest  of  the  people  on 
before  them,  absolutely  heedless  of  trampling  others 
under  foot.  In  some  cases  isolated  women  were  sur- 
rounded by  them  and  with  difficulty  rescued  from 
their  ill  treatment  by  the  soberer  and  more  respecta- 
ble  members    of    the    gathering.     But,    undaunted 

JUNE,  igo8  253 

either  by  violence  from  the  roughs  or  from  the  po- 
lice, the  Suffragettes,  though  their  slight  frames  were 
bruised  and  almost  worn  out  by  the  constant  batter- 
ing of  those  who  were  so  much  heavier,  stronger  and 
more  numerous  than  themselves,  still  continued  to 
address  the  throng.  Every  woman  who  was  ar- 
rested was  followed  to  the  police  station  by  a  stream 
of  cheering  people  and  was  saluted  with  raised  hats 
and  waving  handkerchiefs. 

As  Mr.  Asquith  passed  from  the  House  of 
Commons  to  Downing  Street  in  his  motor-car  he  was 
hooted  by  the  crowd.  He  arrived  home  to  find  his 
windows  broken,  for  Mrs.  Leigh  and  Mrs.  New  had 
driven  swiftly  past  the  guardian  policemen  at  the 
entrance  to  the  street  in  a  taxicab  and  had  each 
thrown  two  small  stones  through  two  of  the  lower 
windows  of  Number  10  before  an  arm  of  the  Law 
had  been  stretched  out  to  drag  them  away  to  Canon 
Row.  Meanwhile  Miss  Mary  Phillips  had  endeav- 
oured to  dash  into  the  House  of  Commons  by  way 
of  Palace  Yard  in  the  midst  of  a  little  company  of 
Parliamentary  waitresses  but  half  way  across  the 
Yard  had  been  seized  and  dragged  back.  Miss 
Lena  Lambert  had  chartered  a  little  rowing  boat 
and  had  set  off  in  the  darkness  to  reach  the  House 
from  the  river  side.  Crowds  of  Members  were 
lounging  on  the  lighted  terrace  that  hot  summer's 
night  when  she  and  her  little  craft  appeared  out  of 
the  darkness,  to  urge  them  to  determine  that  the  sim- 
ple measure  of  justice,  which  was  being  so  hardly 
fought  for,  should  be  carried  into  law.  But  not 
many  words  had  she  spoken,  when  the  police  boats 
swooped  down  on  her  and  she  was  towed  away,  lest 
she  should  irritate  and  annoy  the  people's  representa* 


tives  by  telling  them  of  the  battle  whose  dull  roar 
nothing  could  shut  out. 

So  the  night  wore  on  and  that  weary  fight  con- 
tinued. Not  until  twelve  o'clock  did  the  police  at 
last  succeed  in  clearing  the  streets,  and  It  was  then 
found  that  twenty-nine  women  had  been  arrested. 

Next  morning  twenty-seven  of  the  women  were 
brought  up  at  Westminster  Police  Court  before  the 
Magistrate,  Mr.  Francis,  and  were  charged  with 
obstructing  the  police  in  the  execution  of  their  duty. 
With  the  usual  callous  haste  their  trial  was  hur- 
ried through.  The  magistrate  had  always  had  all 
the  political  rights  that  he  cared  to  use  and  woul^  not 
trouble  to  imagine  what  it  is  like  to  be  without  them. 
He  testily  brushed  aside  the  defence  of  the  women 
that  the  Government  had  driven  them  to  adopt  these 
methods  of  obtaining  the  franchise  and  that  Mr. 
Asquith  by  his  ignoring  of  the  Great  *Hyde  Park 
Demonstration  had  taught  them  once  and  for  all  the 
uselessness  of  peaceful  propaganda.  The  sentences 
ranged  from  one  to  three  months'  imprisonment  in 
the  second  division.  Mrs.  Leigh  and  Miss  New 
were  dealt  with  separately  at  Bow  Street  but,  as  this 
was  not  generally  expected,  very  few  people  were 
present.  In  the  dimly  lighted  Court,  with  the 
magistrate  in  his  high  backed  chair  regarding  them 
sternly  from  deep  cavernous  eyes,  the  two  little 
women  in  the  great  dock  with  its  heavy  iron  railings 
looked  strangely  forlorn.  What  dreadful  sentence, 
we  wondered,  was  in  store  far  these,  the  first  of  the 
Suffragettes  to  deliberately  throw  stones  1  ,  Mr. 
Muskett  in  prosecuting  them  for  doing  wilful  dam- 
age to  the  value  of  ten  shillings  at  the  Prime  Min- 
ister's residence,  spoke  of  them  with  extreme  harsh- 


O  2 



JUNE,  igo8  255 

ness,  urging  that  they  should  be  sent  to  prison 
without  the  option  of  a  fine.  Though  the  Magis- 
trate rebuked  the  women  for  the  methods  they  had 
adopted,  we  felt  that  he  was  impressed  by  their  de- 
meanour and  that  he  was  loth  to  sentence  them.  He' 
ordered  that  they  should  go  to  prison  for  two  months 
in  the  third  division  without  the  option  of  a  fine. 
The  sentence  was  heavy  enough,  but  lighter  than 
we  had  feared  in  view  of  the  fact  that  many  of  the 
other  women  were  to  remain  in  prison  for  three 

When  the  House  of  Commons  met  on  the  same 
afternoon,  several  members  of  every  party  in  the 
House  asked,  as  they  had  done  on  previous  occa- 
sions, that  the  women  should  be  treated  as  political 
offenders.  As  before,  however,  Mr.  Gladstone 
sheltered  himself  behind  the  statement,  which  no- 
body believed,  that  the  Magistrate  was  alone  respon- 
sible for  placing  the  women  in  the  second  and  third 
divisions  and  that  he  himself  had  no  power  to  in- 

On  the  morning  after  the  "  raid  "  the  newspapers 
had  mostly  contented  themselves  with  rebuking  the 
women  for  what  they  had  done,  but  in  a  few  days 
there  came  a  reaction  of  feeling  which  was  acceler- 
ated both  by  the  harshness  of  the  sentences  imposed 
and  by  Mr.  Gladstone's  refusal  to  mitigate  the  rig- 
ours of  the  prison  treatment. 

The  country  was  now  overwhelmed  by  one  of 
those  terribly  oppressive  heat  waves  which  come 
upon  us  suddenly  from  time  to  time  and  are  borne 
with  such  difficulty  in  our  usually  temperate  climate, 
and  there  gradually  leaked  out  from  HoUoway  ac- 
counts of  the  Suffragist  women  fainting  in  the  exer- 


cise  yards  ^  and  being  seized  with  illness  in  their 
cells.  There  happened  to  be  some  cases  of  measles 
in  the  prison  hospital,  and  Miss  Elsie  Howey,  hav- 
ing contracted  the  disease  there,  was  exceedingly  ill 
for  many  weeks. 

All  these  things  combined  to  focus  public  attention 
upon  the  harsh  treatment  of  the  Suffragette  prisoners. 
On  July  loth  the  Manchester  Guardian  in  a  leading 
Article  said : 

It  demands  considerable  obtuseness  to  believe,  as  some  per- 
sons apparently  do,  that  close  confinement  in  the  heat  of 
Summer  or  the  cold  of  Winter  within  a  solitary  and  un- 
wholesome cell,  deprival  of  exercise  for  twenty-three  hours 
out  of  the  twenty-four,  subjection  to  menial  authority,  igno- 
rance of  the  welfare  of  one's  friends,  the  performing  of 
dull  and  alien  tasks,  deprivation  of  writing  materials,  par- 
tial suffocation  and  the  wearing  of  ugly,  ill-fitting  clothing 
that  has  already  been  worn  by  the  vilest  criminals,  are  for 
delicate  and  sensitive  women  the  elements  of  a  comedy. 
They  compose  a  great  and  terrible  torture,  .  .  .  Be- 
cause they  are  suffering  for  an  idea  their  stringent  imprison- 
ment is  indefensible.  It  violates  the  public  conscience  and 
the  law  and  the  courts  cannot  wage  war  on  the  public  con- 
science without  forfeiting  respect  and  authority. 

1  The  efforts  of  Dr.  Mary  Gordon  (the  first  lady  Inspector  of 
Prisons,  who  had  been  appointed  during  the  previous  April,  ad- 
mittedly owing  to  the  publicity  given  to  the  condition  of  women 
in  prison  by  the  Suffragettes)  now  secured  that  when  exercis- 
ing in  the  future  the  women  should  be  provided  with  cotton  sun- 
bonnets.  By  her  advice  the  prisoners  were  also  supplied  with 
notebooks  and  pencils,  but  the  latter  privilege  was  afterwards 
withdrawn.  Eventually  she  succeeded  in  abolishing  the  unsani- 
tary wooden  spoon  —  at  any  rate,  for  Suffragette  use. 

Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  Christabel  hiding  from  the  police  in 
the  roof  garden  at  Clement's  Inn,  October  12th,  1908 



Great  Demonstrations  in  the  Provinces.  Mr.  Lloyd 
George  Accuses  Women  of  Being  Paid  to  Interrupt 
Him.  Arrest  of  the  Three  Leaders  and  the  Fifth 
Women's  Parliament. 

Meanwhile,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  Union 
had  thought  it  necessary  to  again  resort  to  militant 
tactics  the  campaign  of  great  provincial  demonstra- 
tions was  proceeded  with,  and  included  gatherings  of 
100,000  people  in  Shipley  Glen,  Bradford,  on  May 
31st,  15,000  at  Heaton  Park,  Manchester,  on  July 
19th,  of  100,000  on  Woodhouse  Moor,  Leeds,  on 
July  26th,  of  many  thousands,  also,  on  the  Durdham 
Downs  Clifton,  near  Bristol,  on  September  19th,  in 
Nottingham  Forest,  on  July  i8th,  at  Huddersfield, 
on  September  27th,  at  Rawtenstall,  on  September 
3rd,  and  in  the  Market  Square  Leicester  on  July 

During  these  months,  by-elections  had  been  fought 
in  Pembrokeshire,  Haggerston  and  Newcastle.  At 
the  first  of  these  the  Liberal  majority  was  reduced. 
At  the  second  a  Liberal  majority  of  1,401  was  turned 
to  a  Conservative  majority  of  1,143.  At  Newcastle, 
the  Suffragettes  swept  all  before  them,  and,  when 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  announced  to  a  great  meeting  on 
the  Town  Moor  that  five  of  the  released  prisoners 
were  'shortly  to  arrive,  an  immense  procession  was 
17  257 


formed  to  do  them  honour,  and  the  railway  author- 
ities placed  the  entrance  usually  reserved  for  Royalty 
at  the  disposal  of  the  Suffragettes.  Almost  the 
whole  population  turned  out  to  cheer  the  women. 
There  seemed  no  doubt  the  Government  nominee 
would  be  defeated,  and  so  it  proved,  for  a  Liberal 
majority  of  no  fewer  than  6,481  votes  was  turned 
into  a  majority  of  2,143  for  the  Conservatives. 

After  the  poll,  Mr.  Renwick,  the  successful  candi- 
date said :  **  I  must  express  admiration  for  those 
who  have  addressed  meetings  on  behalf  of  Women's 
Suffrage.  They  have  taught  us  a  lesson  as  to  how 
to  speak  and  conduct  a  campaign.  I  am  sure  we  all 
wish  that  they  may  realise  their  hopes."  The  de- 
feated Liberal  candidate  also  expressed  the  hope  that 
the  women  would  be  voting  at  the  next  election. 

Meanwhile,  at  almost  every  meeting  addressed 
by  a  Cabinet  Minister  throughout  the  length  and 
breadth  of  the  land,  the  Suffragettes  had  been  in  evi- 
dence, and  when  they  had  been  unable  to  secure  ad- 
mission to  the  halls,  they  had  held  meetings  outside. 

At  some  of  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  meetings  the 
women  hecklers  were  treated  with  special  brutality, 
and  this  was  certainly  increased  by  the  exclamations 
of  the  Cabinet  Minister  on  the  platform.  He 
called  his  interrupters  **  sorry  specimens  of  woman- 
hood," and  added,  **  I  think  a  gag  ought  to  be  tried." 
So  calculated  to  aggravate  the  already  savage  be- 
haviour of  the  stewards  were  his  remarks,  that  quite 
a  storm  of  protest  was  raised  and  Mr.  Lloyd  George 
found  it  necessary  to  write  to  the  Times,  saying: 

Owing  to  the  constant  interruptions  to  which  I  was  sub- 
jected, it  was  doubtless  difficult  for  me  to  make  myself  clearly 

JULY  TO  OCTOBER,  igo8  259 

and  fully  understood,  and  the  difficulty  which  I  found  in 
speaking  was  no  doubt  shared  by  the  Press  in  reporting. 
Under  these  circumstances  I  am  not  surprised  that  some 
misunderstanding  may  have  arisen,  and  I  appeal  to  the 
courtesy  of  your  columns  to  remove  it. 

Nevertheless,  when  he  spoke  at  Swansea,  his  re- 
marks were  even  more  unguarded,  and  he  urged  on 
the  stewards  with  such  cries  as,  "  By  and  by  we 
shall  have  to  order  sacks  for  them,  and  the  first  to 
interrupt  shall  disappear,"  and  *'  fling  them  ruth- 
lessly out."  At  that  there  were  shouts  of  laughter 
from  Liberals  on  the  platform  mingled  with  cries  of 
"  frog  march  them  1  "  Then  he  taunted  the  women. 
"  I  wonder  how  much  she  has  been  paid  for  coming 
here,"  he  called  as  one  was  being  dragged  away. 
His  supporters  responded  with  cheers  and  shouts  of 
"  Tory  money,"  and  he  added  "  I  am  sorry  to  say 
this  business  is  becoming  a  profession." 

On  hearing  of  this  remark,  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence 
wrote  to  Mr.  Lloyd  George  as  Treasurer  of  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  to  protest 
against  his  suggestion  that  the  women  who  inter- 
rupted Cabinet  Ministers  did  so  as  a  **  profession." 
In  doing  so  she  forwarded  him  a  copy  of  our  Annual 
Report.  He  replied  by  repeating  his  insinuations 
and  calling  attention  to  the  fact  that  the  Report 
showed  considerable  sums  of  money  to  have  been 
dispensed  in  '*  salaries,"  "  travelling  expenses,"  and 
"  special  board  and  lodging."  Mrs.  Lawrence  then 
stated  that  whilst,  like  every  other  political  organisa- 
tion, the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  had  its 
paid  staff  and  organisers  and  that  whilst  these  or- 
ganisers were  occasionally  present  at  Cabinet  Min- 
isters' meetings,   the  protests   were  almost  entirely 


made  by  members  of  the'  Union  who  gave  their  time 
and  work  freely.  Thus,  of  the  thirty  women  who 
had  interrupted  Mr.  George  at  the  Queen's  Hall  on 
July  28th  and  had  been  ejected,  twenty-nine  had 
never  at  any  time  been  in  receipt  of  any  salary  from 
the  Union,  and  of  the  five  women  who  had  taken 
part  in  the  protest  made  at  Swansea,  four  had  never 
been  in  receipt  of  any  salary  from  the  Union  and  the 
fifth  was  not  receiving  any  salary  at  the  time. 

The  eyes  of  all  Suffragettes  were  now  fixed  upon 
the  opening  of  Parliament  for  the  autumn  session, 
which  was  to  take  place  on  October  12th.  The 
Prime  Minister  was  again  asked  that  facilities  should 
be  given  for  the  House  of  Commons  to  proceed  with 
the  Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill,  but  he  again  re- 
fused and  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  then  determined  that  a 
fifth  Parliament  of  Women  must  be  called  together 
on  October  13th,  and  that  a  deputation  from  it  must 
again  seek  an  interview  with  the  Prime  Minister. 
It  was  thought  desirable  that,  as  on  the  last  occasion, 
the  general  public  should  be  present,  both  that  they 
might  see  what  actually  happened  between  the 
women  and  the  authorities,  and  also  that  it  might  be 
shown  to  the  Government  that  many  thousands  of 
men  and  women  were  prepared  to  support  the  Suffra- 
gettes and  to  answer  to  their  call.  Knowing  well 
the  difficulty  of  bringing  anything  prominently  be- 
fore the  public  in  these  modern  days  of  crowded 
interests  except  with  the  aid  of  the  advertisement 
afforded  by  notices  in  the  Press,  and  knowing  also 
that  in  this  epoch  of  Press  sensationalism  that  noth- 
ing, even  if  it  be  as  serious  as  a  struggle  between  life 
and  death,  is  reported  except  when  it  is  new,  the 
Committee  of  the  Union  cast  about  in  their  minds 

JULY  TO  OCTOBER,  igo8  261 

for  some  racy  and  attractive  means  of  drawing  pub- 
lic attention  to  the  forthcoming  deputation.  At  last 
the  phrase,  "  Help  the  Suffragettes  to  rush  the  House 
of  Commons  "  was  hit  upon,  because  of  its  double 
suggestion  and  echo  of  the  oft  heard  but  almost  al- 
ways ridiculously  unfounded  complaint  that  legisla- 
tion is  being  "  rushed  "  through  our  too  talkative 
and  dilatory  Parliament.  The  words  were  at  once 
embodied  in  a  handbill  of  which  the  accompanying 
illustration  is  a  facsimile. 

Meanwhile  another  body  of  agitators  who  had 
become  impatient  with  the  Government's  treatment 
of  their  own  particular  question,  were  preparing  to 
take  similar  steps.  Even  in  the  early  summer,  there 
had  been  signs  that  the  forthcoming  winter  was  to 
be  one  of  exceptional  hardship  for  the  working 
classes,  and  the  Labour  Members  of  Parliament  had 
then  begun  to  urge  upon  the  President  of  the  Local 
Government  Board  the  need  for  making  extensive 
preparations  for  helping  the  great  numbers  of  per- 
sons whom  they  foresaw  would  fall  out  of  employ- 
ment. The  distress  that  had  been  foreshadowed 
was  now  upon  the  country,  a  feeling  of  general  dis- 
content prevailed,  and  rumours  of  all  sorts  of  wild 
doings  were  beginning  to  spread.  Bodies  of  unem- 
ployed came  marching  up  to  London  from  the  pro- 
vincial towns  and  held  meetings  on  the  Embankment 
and  Tower  Hill  at  which  it  was  announced  that 
there  was  to  be  a  great  gathering  of  the  unemployed 
in  Parliament  Square  on  Monday,  October  1 2th,  and 
that  an  attempt  was  then  to  be  made  to  see  the 
Prime  Minister,  the  President  of  the  Local  Gov- 
ernment Board  and  the  President  of  the  Board  of 
Trade.     On  Sunday,  October  4th,  a  meeting  for  the 


unemployed  was  held  under  the  auspices  of  the  So- 
cial Democratic  Federation  in  Trafalgar  Square, 
and  some  very  inflammatory  speeches  were  deliv- 
ered.^ The  words  of  Mr.  Will  Thorne,  M.P.  for 
West  Ham,  were  milder  than  those  of  some  others. 
In  the  course  of  his  remarks  he  said : 

Next  Tuesday  the  Suffragettes  admit  that  they  are  going 
to  "  rush "  the  House.  There  is  nothing  there.  If  you 
want  to  "rush"  anything,  you  rush  where. there  is  some- 
thing to  be  rushed;  not  the  House.  I  say  that  if  you  are 
in  earnest,  the  first  thing  that  you  ought  to  do  is  to  rush 
the  bakers'  shops.  You  ought  to  rush  every  bally  bakers' 
shop  in  London  rather  than  starve.  I  suppose  it  means  that 
a  few  of  you  will  get  locked  up.  You  would  be  better  off 
in  prison. 

He  added  that  until  the  unemployed  struck  "  the 
fear  of  man  "  into  the  hearts  of  the  Government, 
the  Government  would  do  nothing  for  them.  After 
the  unemployed  meeting  was  over,  there  was  some 
disorder  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Charing  Cross  and 
two  or  three  men  were  arrested. 

On  Sunday,  October  nth,  the  Women's  Social 
and  Political  Union  held  a  meeting  in  Trafalgar 
Square  at  which  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Christabel  Pank- 
hurst,  and  Mrs.  Drummond  spoke  from  the  plinth 
of  the  Nelson  column,  whilst  the  police  who  were 
present  in  great  numbers,  took  notes  of  all  that  was 

On  Monday,  October  12th,  came  the  day  of  the 
unemployed  demonstration,  but,  though  much  had 
been   feared   and   expected   of   it,    little   happened. 

1  My  authorities  in  these  cases  are  the  report  in  the  Times 
and  the  evidence  given  in  the  witness  box  at  Bow  Street. 










TUESDAY  Evening,  13th  October, 

At  7.30. 

PxtBtad  by  8t  €9MB«itt  Pmi,  Ltd.,  N«inpap«»  BoOdiiigi,  Portagml  Sttttt,  W.0> 

JULY  TO  OCTOBER,  1^08  263 

Small  groups  of  unemployed  began  to  arrive  in  the 
Square  at  an  early  hour,  but  a  pacificatory  attitude 
was  adopted  by  the  authorities  and  though  the  police 
kept  the  crowd  moving  in  the  thoroughfares  they  did 
not  prevent  the  assemblage  of  a  number  of  people  in 
the  centre  of  the  green  in  front  of  Westminster 
Abbey.  Many  of  the  men  were  allowed  to  enter 
the  House,  where  Mr.  John  Burns  assured  them 
that  within  a  few  days  the  Prime  Minister  would 
make  a  pronouncement  in  the  House  of  Commons 
pledging  the  Government  to  provide  some  measure 
of  relief. 

During  the  week  that  had  passed,  the  last  before 
their  demonstration,  the  Suffragettes  had  been  work- 
ing strenuously.  The  "  rush  "  hand-bills  had  been 
circulated  broadcast,  a  "  Votes  for  Women  '*  kite 
had  floated  constantly  over  the  House  of  Commons, 
and  a  steam  launch,  decorated  with  banners  and 
posters  announcing  the  deputation  had  steamed  up 
and  down  the  river.  Everything  had  gone  on  with- 
out let  or  hindrance  and  new  recruits,  anxious  to 
take  part  in  the  demonstration  had  been  eagerly  pre- 
senting themselves.  Yet  from  day  to  day  there 
grew  the  knowledge  that  the  authorities  were  lying 
in  wait  to  take  some  suddeA  step  against  the  Union 
and  the  women  began  to  notice  that  the  police  were 
shadowing  all  the  prominent  members  of  the  Com- 
mittee and  were  constantly  hanging  about  the  offices 
at  Clement's  Inn.  The  blow  came  in  the  shape  of 
the  following  document,  a  copy  of  which  was  served 
upon  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Mrs.  Drummond,  and  Chris- 
tabel  Pankhurst  about  mid-day  on  Monday,  October 
1 2th: 


Information  has  been  laid  this  day  by  the  Commissionef 
of  Police  for  that  you,  in  the  month  of  October,  in  the  year 
1908,  were  guilty  of  conduct  likely  to  provoke  a  breach  of 
the  peace  by  initiating  and  causing  to  be  initiated,  by  pub- 
lishing and  causing  to  be  published,  a  certain  handbill,  call- 
ing upon  and  inciting  the  public  to  do  a  certain  wrongful 
and  illegal  act,  viz.,  to  rush  the  House  of  Commons  at  7  '.30 
p.  M.  on  October  13  th  inst. 

You  are  therefore  hereby  summoned  to  appear  before  the 
Court  of  Summary  Jurisdiction  now  sitting  at  the  Bow 
Street  Police  Station  on  Monday,  October  12th,  at  the  hour 
of  3 :30,  to  answer  to  the  said  information  and  to  shew  cause 
why  you  and  each  of  you  shall  not  be  ordered  to  find  sureties 
of  good  behaviour. 

(Signed)     H.  Curtis  Bennett. 

It  was  felt  that  the  summons  had  been  issued  to 
withdraw  public  attention  from  the  deputation  to 
Mr.  Asquith  which  was  to  go  from  the  Caxton  Hall 
next  evening.  Therefore  it  was  decided  to  disre- 
gard it  for  the  present,  but  at  the  crowded  At  Home 
in  the  Queen's  Hall  that  afternoon  the  members  of 
the  Union  were  informed  that  it  had  been  received. 
The  devotion  and  loyalty  -  to  leaders,  always  so 
strong  in  the  Union,  was  now  at  fever  heat.  Num- 
bers of  constables  were  posted  at  the  doors,  official 
police  reporters  were  present  and  it  was  momentarily 
expected  that  the  police  would  force  their  way  on 
to  the  platform  and  arrest  the  three.  The  excite- 
ment culminated  when  someone  said  that  a  police 
inspector  was  entering  the  building.  Then  hun- 
dreds of  women  leapt  to  their  feet  and  cried  out  that 
the  officers  should  not  be  allowed  to  enter  and  that 
they  would  never  let  them  take  their  leaders.  But 
this  proved  to  be  a  false  alarm,  for  it  was  only  a 

JULY  TO  OCTOBER,  1908  265 

messenger  to  say  that  the  summonses  had  been  ad- 
journed until  the  following  morning.  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst,  Christabel  and  Mrs.  Drummond  decided  not 
to  give  themselves  up  till  evening  and  they  accord- 
ingly sent  the  following  note  to  the  Court : 

We  shall  not  be  at  the  offices  at  4,  Clement's  Inn  until 
SIX  o'clock  to-day,  but  at  that  hour  we  shall  all  three  be 
entirely  at  your  disposal. 

This  did  not  appease  the  authorities  in  any  way 
and  a  warrant  for  their  arrest  was  immediately  is- 
sued with  an  order  to  Inspector  Jarvis  to  execute  it 
without  delay.  Having  guessed  that  this  might 
happen  Mrs.  Drummond  had  quietly  arranged  to 
spend  her  last  day  of  liberty  with  friends  whilst  my 
mother  and  sister  had  merely  made  their  way  to  one 
of  the  upper  flats  in  Clement's  Inn,  No.  119,  which 
was  rented  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  and 
to  which  a  roof  garden  was  attached.  This  had 
scarcely  been  done  when  the  police  swooped  down 
upon  our  offices  to  demand  the  three,  and  on  no  in- 
formation being  forthcoming  they  remained  roaming 
about  the  passages  and  standing  in  the  doorways, 
trying  to  get  information  from  postmen,  porters  and 
tradesmen,  all  day  long. 

At  six  o'clock,  Mrs.  Drummond  returned, 
promptly  to  the  moment,  and  the  two  other  pris- 
oners walked  calmly  downstairs  and  into  the  offices. 
Inspector  Jarvis  and  a  detective  in  plain  clothes  were 
already  waiting  and,  after  the  warrant  for  their  ar- 
rest had  been  read  out  to  them,  they  were  taken  in  a 
cab  to  Bow  Street.  The  Court  having  risen,  it  was 
impossible  for  the  trial  to  be  proceeded  with  that 
evening  and  when  they  applied  to  be  allowed  out  on 


bail  until  the  next  morning  their  application  was  re- 
fused and  they  were  hurried  away  to  the  cells.  The 
police  court  cells  are  about  five  feet  wide  by  seven 
feet  long,  exceedingly  badly  lit  and  furnished  only  with 
a  wooden  bench  attached  to  the  wall  and  a  sanitary 
convenience.  There  are  neither  washing  utensils 
nor  bed  of  any  kind,  but  each  prisoner  is  given  a 
dark  and  dirty-looking  rug  in  which  to  wrap  her- 
self during  the  night.  Mrs.  Pankhurst  at  once 
claimed  her  right  as  an  untried  prisoner  to  communi- 
cate with  the  outside  world  and  immediately  de- 
spached  telegrams  to  several  Members  of  Parlia- 
ment. A  weary  hour  or  two  went  by.  Then  the 
door  of  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  cell  was  thrown  wide 
open,  and  the  tall,  breezy  presence  of  Mr.  Murray, 
Liberal  Member  of  Parliament  for  East  Aberdeen- 
shire, appeared.  He  was  horrified  to  find  the  three 
ladies  in  these  unpleasant  surroundings  and,  prom- 
ising to  return  soon,  he  hurried  to  the  Savoy  Hotel, 
and  there  arranged  for  various  comforts  to  be  sent 
in  to  the  prison.  Then  he  prevailed  upon  the 
authorities  to  allow  the  three  Suffragettes  to  take  their 
evening  meal  together  and,  in  an  incredibly  short 
space  of  time,  they  were  ushered  into  the  matron's 

The  bare  little  place  with  its  dingy  walls,  its 
wooden  chairs  and  two  deal  tables,  had  been  won- 
derfully transformed.  Numbers  of  tall  wax  candles 
had  been  lighted,  the  tables  were  laid  with  silver, 
flowers  and  brightly  coloured  fruit,  and  three  wait- 
ers were  ready  to  serve  the  prisoners  with  a  most 
elaborate  meal.  At  the  same  time,  Mr.  Murray, 
with  his  face  wreathed  in  smiles,  was  superintend- 
ing the  carrying  in  to  the  cells  of  three  comfortable 

JULY  TO  OCTOBER,  1908  267 

beds.  The  management  of  the  Savoy  had  thrown 
themselves  into  the  enterprise  with  the  greatest 
eagerness  and,  having  acted  throughout  with  almost 
overwhelming  kindness  and  courtesy,  ended  by  re- 
fusing to  charge  anything  at  all  for  what  they  had 
provided.  As  well  may  be  imagined,  the  three  com- 
rades were  in  no  haste  to  finish  the  meal  and  return 
to  the  dark  and  solitary  cells. 

Meanwhile  there  were  stirring  doings  at  West- 
minster. All  police  leave  had  been  stopped  for  the 
day  in  the  whole  of  the  metropolitan  area,  and  every 
mounted  policeman  had  been  called  up  to  head- 
quarters. Parliament  Square  itself  was  cut  off  from 
the  rest  of  London  as  though  it  were  in  a  state  of 
siege,  by  double  cordons  of  foot  police,  each  of 
them  five  deep,  which  were  drawn  up  across  all  the 
streets  leading  to  it.  Within  these  barriers  the 
great  area,  usually  thronged  with  vehicles  of  all 
kinds  and  hurrying  passers-by,  was  emptied  of  all 
but  the  few  mounted  police  who  rode  about  in  it, 
the  ring  of  their  horses'  hoofs  sounding  strangely 
sharp  and  loud,  and  an  occasional  wheeled  vehicle 
carrying  some  Member  to  the  House  of  Commons* 

Outside  the  massed  ranks  of  police  the  whole 
population  of  London  seemed  to  have  gathered. 
The  newspapers  said  that  it  was  just  like  Mafeking 
night  without  the  disorder.  Members  of  Parlia- 
ment came  out  from  time  to  time  to  watch  the 
scene,  amongst  the  spectators  being  Mr.  John  Burns, 
Mr.  Haldane,  Mr.  Walter  Long  and  Mr.  Lloyd 
George,  who  came  with  his  little  daughter,  a  fair 
haired  child  of  six  years  old.  Soon  a  deputation  of 
eleven  women  with  Miss  Wallace  Dunlop  a  descend- 
ant of  the  great  William  Wallace,  as  their  leader, 


marched  out  of  the  Caxton  Hall  with  Mrs.  Law- 
rence's instructions  to  oppose  with  spiritual  force 
the  physical  force  which  the  authorities  had  arrayed 
in  such  strength  against  them,  ringing  in  their  ears. 
A  cheer  from  the  waiting  crowd  greeted  them  as 
they  gained  the  street,  and  though  some  fifty  con- 
stables attempted  to  bar  their  passage  into  Victoria 
Street,  the  people  swept  them  through.  At  last 
near  the  end  of  Victoria  Street,  they  were  met  by  a 
body  of  police  and  the  Inspector  in  Charge  asked 
Miss  Wallace  Dunlop  that  the  deputation  should 
wait  for  a  few  moments  in  order  that  he  might  bring 
up  some  mounted  police  to  clear  a  way  to  the  House 
of  Commons.  She  agreed  to  wait  until  eight  o'clock 
but  when  that  time  came  the  Inspector  returned  and 
said  the  deputation  could  not  pass.  Then,  faithful 
to  their  trust,  the  little  band  of  women  pressed 
bravely  forward  and  commenced  their  hopelessly 
unequal  struggle  with  the  police.  In  a  moment 
their  ranks  were  broken  and  they  were  scattered 
hopelessly  amongst  the  crowd  of  constables  and  sight- 
seers. Before  long  a  number  had  been  arrested  and 
the  others  were  swept  far  away  from  their  destina- 
tion. When  the  news  of  the  first  deputation's  fate 
reached  the  Caxton  Hall  a  second  body  of  women 
numbering  some  thirty  or  forty,  marched  out  to  take 
their  place.  Like  their  predecessors,  they  too 
reached  the  top  of  Victoria  Street  where  the 
mounted  police  were  still  waiting.  Then  suddenly, 
Mrs.  Leigh,  a  slight  agile  figure  in  white,  dashed 
forward  from  their  midst  and  threw  herself  into  the 
mounted  line,  seizing  a  police  horse  by  the  bridle 
with  either  hand.  The  horses  reared  and  kicked 
furiously,  the  constables  closed  upon  her  and  she  was 

JULY  TO  OCTOBER,  igo8  269 

flung  to  the  ground.  From  time  to  time  several  iso- 
lated women  succeeded  by  strategy  in  getting  quite 
close  to  the  House  of  Commons  and  one  even  found 
her  way  into  one  of  the  underground  passages  used 
by  Members  of  Parliament.  In  every  case  they 
were  captured  by  the  police  and  either  placed  under 
arrest  or  dragged  away  and  pushed  outside  the 
guarding  cordons  into  the  crowd.  At  last  so  fear- 
ful did  the  authorities  become  that  the  women  might 
be  concealed  at  other  strategic  points  that  they  pro- 
ceeded to  thoroughly  search  every  corner  of  West- 
minster Abbey  and  with  their  lanterns  were  to  be 
seen  amongst  the  buttresses  and  pinnacles  of  St.  Mar- 
garet's Church,  searching  for  Suffragettes.  Yet 
with  all  their  vigilance  they  were  circumvented,  for 
one  woman  succeeded  in  outwitting  everyone  and 
entered  the  sacred  chamber  itself.  The  lady  in 
question  was  Mrs.  Margaret  Travers  Simons,  Mr. 
Keir  Hardie's  Parliamentary  Secretary,  who,  whilst 
a  believer  in  the  Votes  for  Women  Movement,  had 
never  taken  any  active  part  in  it.  On  her  way  to 
the  House  that  evening  she  had  been  deeply  moved 
by  the  violent  scenes.  As  she  sat  thinking  of  them 
in  the  Lobby,  and  realising  that  the  Suffragettes, 
struggle  as  they  might,  would  never  reach  the  House, 
the  thought  suddenly  flashed  across  her  mind  that 
she  herself  had  the  power  to  make  the  appeal  and 
protest  which  was  impossible  to  them.  Seized  by 
an  irresistible  impulse,  she  sent  in  for  Mr.  T.  H.  W. 
Idris,  the  Liberal  Member  for  Flint  Boroughs,  and 
asked  him  to  take  her  to  look  through  a  little  win- 
dow, known  as  the  **  peep  hole,"  which  is  situated  on 
the  left  side  of  the  glass  doors  leading  into  the 
House   of   Commons,    and   to   which   Members   of 


Parliament  had  the  privilege  of  taking  their  lady 
friends.  He  agreed,  and,  on  reaching  the  window, 
she  mounted  a  seat,  which  is  in  front  of  it  in  order 
that  she  might  get  a  clear  view  of  the  chamber. 
After  a  moment  or  two  she  descended  and  Mr.  Idris 
turned  towards  the  outer  Lobby  thinking  that  she 
was  about  to  accompany  him.  In  that  instant,  she 
pushed  open  the  double  glass  doors  and,  before  any- 
one could  prevent  her,  darted  into  the  Chamber 
and  rushed  up  the  central  aisle  towards  the  Speak- 
er's chair,  calling  upon  the  House  to  **  attend  to  the 
women's  question!  "  She  was  seized  by  one  of  the 
attendants  at  the  Bar,  a  big,  powerful  man  who  car- 
ried her  back  into  the  lobby,  and  in  a  very  short 
space  of  time  she  had  been  handed  over  to  a  police 
inspector,  conducted  out  of  the  House  of  Commons, 
and  allowed  to  go  free. 

Outside  in  the  street  the  conflict  still  continued 
and  went  on  until  midnight  when  it  .was  found  that 
ten  persons  had  been  injured  and  treated  at  West- 
minster Hospital,  and  that  twenty-one  women  and 
a  number  of  men  had  been  arrested. 

OCTOBER,  1908 

The  Trial  of  the  Three  Leaders.  Mr.  Herbert 
Gladstone  and  Mr.  Lloyd  George  in  the  Witness 

On  the  morning  of  October  14th  began  the  trial 
both  of  the  three  leaders  who  had  been  arrested  by 
warrant  and  the  twenty-one  women  whom  they  were 
said  to  have  incited  to  break  the  peace.  Excited 
crowds  early  assembled  in  Bow  Street,  and  besieged 
the  doors  of  the  Police  Court,  begging  the  unyield- 
ing custodians  for  admission.  In  the  dark  passage- 
ways and  lobbies  of  the  Court  were  numbers  of 
women,  imploring  the  officials  to  allow  them  to  pass 
into  the  Court  itself.  The  public  enter  by  a  door 
at  the  back  of  the  room  and  here  there  is  a  space 
where  visitors  may  stand.  This  space  was  now 
crowded  with  women,  pressing  closely  against  the 
wooden  barrier  which  cut  them  from  off  the  narrow 
rows  of  equally  crowded  wooden  seats,  where  the 
friends  and  relatives  of  the  prisoners,  who  could  ob- 
tain the  ear  of  some  kindly  officer,  were  allowed  to 
sit.  In  front  of  these  seats  is  the  dock  itself  —  a 
wooden  bench  some  six  feet  long,  empty  as  yet,  and 
surrounded  by  a  heavy  iron  railing  on  three  sides,  the 
fourth  to  be  guarded  by  a  policeman  when  the  pris- 
oners arrive.  In  front  and  at  one  side  of  the  dock 
are  the  benches  for  the  Press,  which  that  morning 



contained  representatives  from  all  the  leading  news- 
papers. In  front  of  this  again,  divided  by  a  barrier 
and  on  a  lower  level  so  that  one  sees  little  more  than 
the  heads  of  its  occupants,  was  another  bench  where 
Mr.  Muskett,  the  solicitor  for  the  Prosecution  who 
had  so  often  appeared  against  the  Suffragettes,  and 
other  minions  of  the  law  now  sat.  In  front  again 
and  placed  at  right  angles  to  this  bench  is  the  wit- 
ness box  —  a  little  wooden  pen  with  a  foolish 
wooden  canopy  which  looks  as  though  it  were  meant 
for  keeping  out  the  rain.  On  the  right,  opposite 
the  witness  box,  are  two  rows  of  seats,  each  entered 
by  a  little  wooden  door,  like  church  pews,  where 
counsel  and  distinguished  strangers  sit.  In  the  well 
between  the  witness  box  and  these  seats  sit  the  re- 
cording clerks  and  other  officials,  and  opposite  to 
them,  and  facing  the  whole  court  is  the  Magistrate's 
high-backed  chair  and  his  table.  Mr.  Curtis  Ben- 
nett, the  Magistrate  who  was  to  try  the  case,  sat 
there  now,  handsome  and  dignified,  and  looking  the 
picture  of  a  high-bred  eighteenth-century  squire. 

The  familiar  figures  of  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Chris- 
tabel  and  Mrs.  Drummond  were  soon  ushered  into 
the  dock,  and  then  Christabel  began  by  asking  the 
Magistrate  not  to  deal  with  the  case  in  that  Court, 
but  to  send  it  for  trial  by  Judge  and  Jury,  her  object 
being  to  secure  that  Suffragette  cases  should  no 
longer  be  decided  by  a  body  of  Police  Court  officials, 
whom  we  had  every  reason  to  believe  were  acting 
under  the  direct  instructions  of  the  Government 
against  whom  our  agitation  was  directed,  but  should 
instead  be  submitted  to  a  body  of  ordinary  citizens. 
She  urged  that,  under  section  seventeen  of  the  Sum- 
mary Jurisdiction  Act  of  1879,  she  and  her  co-de- 

OCTOBER,  igo8  273 

fendants  were  entitled  to  the  option  of  being  tried 
where  they  desired,  and  she  wished  nqw  to  state  that 
they  desired  that  the  case  should  go  before  a  jury. 
Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  bent  his  head  and  smiled,  saying, 
**  Yes,  yes,  but  we  will  go  on  with  the  case  now." 
She  pressed  him  to  at  once  give  an  answer  to  the 
point  which  she  had  raised,  but  he  replied  that  he 
could  not  do  so  until  he  had  heard  the  case. 

Mr.  Muskett,  then  rose  to  prosecute.  Speaking 
quickly  in  a  low  voice  and  showing  considerable  irri- 
tation, he  began  by  complaining  that  the  defendants 
had  failed  to  obey  a  summons  to  appear,  firstly  on 
Monday  and  secondly  on  Tuesday  morning,  to  an- 
swer to  the  charge  of  having  been  guilty  of  conduct 
likely  to  provoke  a  breach  of  the  peace.  Then  in 
the  most  fastidious  manner  and  with  clearly  ex- 
pressed disgust,  he  proceeded  to  set  forth  the  details 
of  the  case.  He  explained  that,  on  October  8th,  In- 
spector Jarvis  had  visited  the  offices  of  the  Women's 
Social  and  Political  Union  and  had  there  seen  Mrs. 
Drummond  with  Miss  Christabel  Pankhurst.  Miss 
Pankhurst  had  said,  "  What  about  the  13th?  Have 
you  seen  our  new  bills?"  and  had  produced  the 
hand-bill  which  formed  the  foundation  of  the  present 
charge.  It  was  worded :  "  Votes  for  Women. 
Men  and  women  help  the  Suffragettes  to  rush  the 
House  of  Commons  on  Tuesday,  October  13th,  at 
7 :30  P.  M."  In  showing  this  to  Inspector  Jarvis, 
Miss  Pankhurst  had  said  that  the  words  "  to  rush  " 
were  not  in  sufficiently  large  type  and  that  they  were 
to  be  made  much  more  distinct. 

On  Sunday,   October   nth,  the  Defendants  had 

held  a  meeting  in  Trafalgar  Square,  to  which  Mr. 

Muskett  objected,  because  it  had  caused  *'  an  enor- 


mous  amount  of  additional  labour  to  be  thrown  upon 
the  shoulders  of  the  police."  At  this  meeting,  he 
asserted  gravely,  speeches  had  been  delivered  by  the 
defendants  inciting  those  present  to  carry  out  the 
programme  of  rushing  the  House  of  Commons. 
"  You  will  agree  sir,"  said  Mr.  Muskett,  "  that  such 
conduct  as  that  cannot  be  tolerated  in  this  country." 
Finally  he  asked  on  behalf  of  the  Commissioner  of 
Police  that  the  defendants  should  be  ordered  to  be 
bound  over  to  keep  the  peace. 

Stout,  red-faced  Superintendent  Wells,  whom  we 
usually  found  most  friendly  and  obliging,  now,  look- 
ing very  cross  and  uncomfortable,  lumbered  into  the 
witness  box.  After  taking  the  oath  he  gave  evidence 
in  regard  to  a  visit  of  his  own  to  the  offices  at  Clem- 
ent's Inn.  He  said  that  Mrs.  Pankhurst  had  then 
shown  him  a  copy  of  a  letter  which  had  been  sent  by 
the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  to  Mr.  As- 
quith.  This  document  pointed  out  that  at  many 
large  demonstrations  all  over  the  country,  resolutions 
had  been  carried,  calling  upon  the  Government  to 
adopt  the  Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill  and  also 
that,  at  a  succession  of  by-elections,  the  voters  had 
shown  unmistakably  their  desire  that  the  Govern- 
ment should  deal  with  the  question  without  further 
delay.  It  concluded  by  asking  the  Prime  Minister 
to  inform  the  Union  as  to  whether  the  Government 
would  carry  the  Bill  into  law  during  the  autumn  ses- 

After  the  Superintendent  had  read  the  letter,  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  had  told  him  that,  if  Mr.  Asquith  re- 
turned a  satisfactory  reply  to  it,  nothing  would  take 
place  on  October  13th  save  a  great  cheer  for  the 
Government,  but  that,  if  he  did  not,  there  would  be 

OCTOBER,  1908  275. 

a  demonstration  and  the  women  would  get  into  the 
House  of  Commons.  "  I  said, '  You  cannot  get  there 
for  the  police  will  not  let  you  unless  you  come  with 
cannon,'  "  the  Superintendent  went  on,  looking  very 
imposing,  and  explained  that  Mrs.  Pankhurst  had 
then  stated  that  "  no  lethal  weapons  "  would  be  used. 
She  had  also  said,  "  Mr.  Asquith  will  be  responsible 
if  there  is  any  disorder  and  accident." 

Superintendent  Wells  next  described  the  meeting 
in  Trafalgar  Square  where  he  had  seen  Mrs.  Drum- 
mond  distributing  the  *'  rush  "  hand-bills.  He  said 
that  he  looked  upon  her  as  a  "  very  active  leader  of 
the  Suffragettes  "  and  that  she  frequently  wore  a 
"  uniform  "  with  fhe  word  "  general  "  or  **  general- 
issimo "  on  the  cap.  He  had  told  her  that  she  and 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  would  be  prosecuted.  When  ques- 
tioned by  Mr.  Muskett  as  to  the  happenings  of  the 
previous  evenings.  Superintendent  Wells  said  that 
traffic  had  been  "  wholly  disorganised  "  in  the  vi- 
cinity of  the  House  of  Commons  for  four  hours  and 
that  for  three  hours  the  streets  had  been  in  **  great 
disorder  " ;  that  a  very  large  body  of  police  indeed 
had  been  required  to  maintain  the  peace,  that  ten 
persons  had  been  treated  at  Westminster  Hospital 
and  that  seven  or  eight  constables  and  sergeants  had 
been  more  or  less  injured. 

It  was  now  Christabel  Pankhurst's  turn  to  cross- 
examine  the  Superintendent  and  he  looked  across  the 
dock  at  her  very  nervously.  She  first  questioned 
him  as  to  the  statement  that  had  been  made  that  she 
and  her  companions  in  the  dock  had  broken  their 
promise  to  appear  at  the  court  either  on  the  Monday 
or  Tuesday  morning,  and  drew  from  him  the  admis- 
sion that  he  had  not  received  any  undertaking  "  in 


actual  words."  She  then  changed  the  subject  and 
brightly  asked  him  whether  he  was  in  the  habit  of 
feadirtg  the  official  organ  of  the  Union  **  Votes  for 
Women,"  to  which  he  replied  in  the  negative. 
*'  You  are  not  aware,  then,"  she  said,  "  that  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  wrote  the  following  words: 

On  October  13th  in  Parliament  Square  there  will  be 
many  thousands  of  people  to  see  fair  play  between  the  women 
and  the  Government.  Let  us  keep  their  support  and  co- 
operation by  showing  them,  as  we  have  done  before,  with 
what  quiet  courage,  self-restraint  and  determination,  women 
are  fighting  against  tyranny  and  oppression  on  the  part  of 
a  Government  which  has  been  called  ihe  strongest  of  mod- 
ern times.  It  is  by  the  exercise  of  courage  ahd  self-restraint 
and  persistent  effort  that  we  shall  win  in  this  unequal  con- 

"  There  is  nothing  very  inflammatory  in  those 
words,"  she  urged.  "  Does  it  really  occur  to  you 
that  those  words  were  circulated  to  incite  a  riot?" 
But  Mr.  Wells  shrugged  his  shoulders  and  answered 
gruffly,  "  I  am  not  complaining  of  that  article,  I  am 
complaining  of  those  bills." 

Then  she  asked  whether  the  crowd  in  Trafalgar 
Square  was  a  disorderly  one.  He  admitted  that  it 
was  not,  but  at  the  question  "  are  you  aware  that  any 
member  of  the  Government  was  there  ?  "  he  looked 
round  at  the  Magistrate  cautiously  and  said,  "  I  do 
not  know  that  I  should  answer  that."  "  You  can 
say  yes  or  no,"  said  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett,  and  when 
the  query  was  repeated  the  reply  came,  **  I  saw  one 
there."  "Was  it  Mr.  Lloyd  George?"  said  Miss 
Pankhurst  with  a  smile,  and  at  this  there  was  laugh- 
ter in  court,  and  even  the  Magistrate  plainly  showed 

OCTOBER,  igo8  277 

amusement.  Mr.  Wells  flushed  redder  still  and  re- 
mained silent.  She  next  questioned  the  Superintend- 
ent as  to  the  nature  of  the  speeches  in  Trafalgar 
Square  and  the  exact  meaning  of  the  word  "  rush," 
but  he  frequently  took  refuge  in  silence,  and  refused 
to  be  drawn.  It  was  plain  that  Mr.  Wells  was  not 
accustomed  to  being  cross-examined  by  a  prisoner  in 
the  dock  and  that  he  did  not  at  all  like  it.  Just  as 
he  began  to  hope  that  it  was  nearly  over,  she  sud- 
denly changed  the  subject,  and  asked  him  whether 
he  had  been  present  when  Mr.  John  Burns  had  made 
the  famous  speech  which  Jed  to  his  arrest.  "  I  was 
not,"  he  answered,  and  she  asked,  "  Are  you  aware 
that  the  words  he  used  at  that  time  were  very  much 
more  calculated  to  lead  to  destruction  and  damage 
to  property  than  anything  that  we  have  said?  "  "  I 
am  not  aware  of  it,"  said  Mr.  Wells  looking  appeal- 
ingly  across  to  Mr.  Muskett.  "  You  are  aware 
however  that  John  Burns  is  a  member  of  the  present 
Government  and  is  responsible  jointly  with  his  col- 
leagues, for  the  action  which  has  been  taken  against 
us?"  "Yes,"  he  answered,  almost  without  think- 
ing. "  You  are  aware  of  that,  you  are  aware  that 
the  law-breaker  is  now  sitting  in  judgment  upon  those 
who  have  done  far  less  than  he  did  himselt?"  she 
said,  pressing  home  her  advantage.  **  You  are 
aware  of  thatf  she  repeated  after  a  pause.  But 
there  was  no  reply. 

Next  she  asked  whether  the  Superintendent  had 
heard  the  Trafalgar  Square  speech  of  Mr.  Will 
Thorne,  M.P.  in  which  he  had  advised  the  people 
to  rush  the  bakers'  shops?  Mr.  Wells  felt  on 
safer  ground  now,  for  this  did  not  concern  a  Cabinet 
Minister.     "  I  did  not  hear  it,"  he  ventured  to  an- 


swer,  "  but  it  was  reported  to  me."  **  Well,  does 
it  occur  to  you  that  his  language  was  far  more  dan- 
gerous to  the  public  peace  than  the  language  that  we 
have  used?  "  *'  I  am  not  complaining  of  your  lan- 
guage," he  again  answered  doggedly,  "  I  am  com- 
plaining of  the  bills."  "  Well,  the  language  that 
was  used  on  the  bills,  he  spoke,  he  used  the  word 
'  rush/  moreover  he  incited  people  to  riot  and  vio- 
lence," she  urged.  "  Does  it  occur  to  you  that  his 
action  is  more  reprehensible  than  ours?"  "  It  oc- 
curs to  me,"  said  Mr.  Wells  sulkily,  '*  that  he  might 
be  prosecuted  the  same  as  you  are."  "  You  are  not 
aware  whether  proceedings  will  be  taken?"  she 
asked  with  an  air  of  pleased  interest  —  but  Mr. 
Curtis  Bennett  interposed  to  say  that  that  question 
could  not  be  allowed.  Then  she  asked  the  Superin- 
tendent whether  he  knew  that  Mr.  Gladstone  had 
stated  in  the  House  of  Commons  that  the  proceed- 
ings against  herself  and  her  colleagues  had  not  been 
instituted  by  the  Government,  but  by  the  police. 
He  tried  to  evade  her,  saying,  "  You  have  kept  me 
so  busily  engaged  that  I  have  not  had  time  to  look 
at  the  papers  this  morning,"  but  before  he  left  the 
box  he  had  virtually  admitted  that,  in  spite  of  Mr. 
Gladstone's  denial,  the  Government  was  responsible 
for  the  prosecution. 

The  next  witness  was  our  old  friend,  Inspector 
Jarvis  with  whom  we  had  had  negotiations  in  all 
sorts  of  matters  connected  both  with  our  peaceful, 
and  militant  propaganda  ever  since  our  campaign  in 
London  had  been  started.  He  is  a  tall  thin  man 
with  a  pale,  thoughtful  face  and  is  not  at  all  like  the 
typical  police  officer.  As  a  rule  he  has  the  most 
kindly  and  courteous  manners,  but  to-day  he  seemed 

OCTOBER,  igo8  279; 

thoroughly  ill-tempered  and  refused  to  look  directly 
at  any  of  us.  He  was  called  upon  by  Mr.  Muskett 
to  read  the  notes  which  he  had  taken  of  ChristabeFs 
speech  at  the  Sunday  meeting  in  Trafalgar  Square 
and  he  did  so  in  halting  and  expressionless  tones : 

I  wish  you  all  to  be  there  on  the  evening  of  the  13th  and 
I  hope  that  this  will  be  the  end  of  this  movement.  On 
June  30th  we  succeeded  in  driving  Mr.  Asquith  under- 
ground; he  is  afraid  of  us  and  so  are  the  Government. 
Years  ago  John  Bright  told  the  people  that  it  was  only  by 
lining  the  streets  from  Charing  Cross  to  Westminster  that 
they  could  impress  the  Government.  Well,  we  are  only 
taking  a  leaf  out  of  his  book.  We  want  you  to  help 
the  women  to  rush  their  way  into  the  House  of  Commons. 
You  won't  get  locked  up  because  you  have  the  vote.  If  you 
are  afraid,  we  will  take  the  lead,  and  you  will  follow  us. 
We  know  we  shall  win  because  we  are  in  the  right. 

Then,  just  as  a  child  at  school  who  does  not  under- 
stand the  words,  he  read  an  extract  also  from  Mrs. 
Pankhurst's  speech: 

On  Tuesday  evening  at  Caxton  Hall  we  shall  ask  those 
who  support  the  women  to  come  to  Parliament  Square. 
There  will  be  a  deputation  of  women  who  have  no  right 
in  the  House  of  Commons  to  a  seat^  there  such  as  men 
have.  The  Government  —  does  not  know  —  its  own  mind 
—  it  —  changes  —  so,  but  we  do  know  —  that  we  want  the 
vote  —  and  mean  to  have  it.  When  the  people  in  Parlia- 
ment Square  — 

But  Mr.  Muskett  interrupted,  he  had  heard 
enough.     He  went  on  to  ask  if  it  were  not  a  fact 

^This,  as  Mr.  Jarvis  afterwards  admitted,  was  a  mistake; 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  really  said  that  women  had  no  representation  in 
the  House  of  Commons. 


that,  on  Monday  morning,  Inspector  Jarvis  had  him- 
self served  a  summons  upon  the  defendants  to  appear 
in  court  on  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day  and  on 
the  Inspector  assenting,  he  said,  "  I  want  to  know 
about  this  question  as  to  whether  they  promised  to 
attend  here  or  not.'-  Inspector  Jarvis  hesitated, 
"  Well,  Miss  Christabel,'*  he  began,  "  I  saw  her 
alone,  and  she  said,  '  We  are  not  afraid,  we  shall  be 
there.'  "  "  Then,"  said  Mr.  Muskett,  "  I  believe 
they  were  served  with  a  summons  to  appear  on  the 
following  morning  at  eleven  o'clock."  *'  Yes." 
**  And  as  they  did  not  put  in  an  appearance  then,  a 
warrant  was  issued?  "  "  Yes."  "  And  you  had  to 
wait  there  for  them  until  they  surrendered  to  you  ?  " 
Again  the  Inspector  assented,  looking  very  much 

Christabel  Pankhurst  began  her  cross-examination 
by  closely  questioning  Mr.  Jarvis  on  this  very  point 
and  soon  drew  from  him  the  admission  that  no 
definite  promise  had  been  made.  As  she  was  speak- 
ing to  him  his  face  cleared  visibly  and  he  generously 
owned  that  he  had  been  mistaken.  Similar  evidence 
from  a  third  Inspector  closed  the  case  for  the  prose- 

Christabel  then  applied  for  an  adjournment  and 
the  Magistrate  agreed  to  allow  the  case  to  stand  over 
for  a  week.  The  three  prisoners  being  released  on 
bail  for  the  time  being. 

As  soon  as  this  had  been  decided  Mr.  Curtis  Ben- 
nett said  that  he  would  deal  with  the  cases  of  the 
women  who  had  been  arrested  in  Trafalgar  Square, 
and  seven  of  these  were  soon  ordered  to  undergo 
from  one  to  two  months'  imprisonment  in  default 
of  being  bound  over  for  twelve  months.     As  each 

OCTOBER,  igo8  281 

woman  was  asked  if  she  had  anything  to  say  for 
herself,  she  replied,  "  I  demand  a  trial  by  jury." 
This  seemed  to  annoy  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  consider- 
ably and  he  became  more  and  more  irate  until  the 
fifth  woman  had  spoken.  Then  he  laughed  and  said, 
**  I  see  this  has  evidently  been  arranged  beforehand.'* 
It  was  unfortunate  for  the  fourth  woman  that  he 
had  not  recovered  his  temper  earlier  for,  though  a 
first  offender  arrested  for  doing  practically  nothing, 
she  received  a  sentence  of  two  months'  imprisonment, 
whilst  one  month  only  was  served  out  to  others  of 
the  same  class.  Mrs.  Leigh,  as  this  was  the  third 
time  that  she  had  been  charged,  received  a  sentence 
of  three  months.  Thirteen  of  the  Suffragettes 
pleaded  that  they  wished  to  obtain  legal  advice,  and 
were  remanded  for  a  week,  at  the  end  of  which  time 
milder  methods  obtained,  for  their  sentences  ranged 
merely  from  three  weeks  to  one  month. 

Next  day,  Thursday,  October  15th,  a  summons  was 
issued  against  Mr.  Will  Thorne,  M.P.  for  inciting 
the  unemployed  to  rush  the  bakers'  shops,  and  when 
his  case  came  up  on  the  21st,  he  expressed  the  be- 
lief that  no  summons  would  have  been  issued  against 
him  but  for  the  remarks  made  by  Christabel  Pank- 
hurst  during  the  Suffragette  trial.  He  declared  that 
in  speaking  as  he  had  done  his  object  had  been  to 
persuade  the  unemployed  not  to  take  part  in  the 
Women's  Demonstration  in  Parliament  Square,  be- 
cause he  felt  sure  that  they  would  get  into  trouble  if 
they  did  so,  and  urged  that  his  speech  had  been  taken 
too  literally.  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett,  however,  ordered 
him  to  be  bound  over  in  his  own  recognisances  of 
£200  and  two  sureties  of  £100  each  to  be  of  good 
behaviour  for  twelve  months  or  in  default  to  go  to 



prison  for  six  months.  Mr.  Thorne  agreed  to  be 
bound  over. 

On  Wednesday,  October  21st,  the  trial  of  the  Suf- 
fragette leaders  again  came  on  and,  whilst  the  Court 
was  just  as  crowded,  the  Press  seats  were  even  fuller 
than  before.  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  seemed  more  than 
ever  dignified  and  magisterial.  Everyone  waited 
with  impatience  and  presently  there  was  a  stir  in  the 
court,  and,  with  much  ceremony,  some  of  the  officers 
opened  the  door  by  which  the  prisoners  usually  enter 
and  ushered  in  a  group  of  gentlemen,  who  seated 
themselves  in  the  pew-like  benches  reserved  for  coun- 
sel and  distinguished  persons.  Then,  preceded  by  a 
stout,  black-bearded  gaoler,  and  with  three  or  four 
police  on  either  side  of  them,  the  three  Suffragettes 
made  their  way  into  the  dock.  As  soon  as  they  had 
seated  themselves,  Mr.  Muskett  rose  and  said  in  his 
usual  rather  peevish  and  very  indistinct  tones  that 
the  case  for  the  Prosecution  had  been  concluded  on 
the  previous  Wednesday. 

After  a  short  preliminary  argument  as  to  legal 
forms  between  Christabel  and  the  Magistrate  and  a 
pledge  that  she  should  be  allowed  to  submit  her  ob- 
jections later,  there  was  a  slight  scuffling  in  those 
important  side  benches,  the  pew  doors  were  opened, 
two  of  the  gentlemen  who  had  accompanied  him 
stepped  aside  and  Mr.  Lloyd  George,  Chancellor  of 
the  Exchequer,  came  forward  and  passed  across  the 
court  into  the  witness  box. 

Seen  for  the  first  time,  he  is  totally  unlike  what 
one  has  been  led  to  expect.  Instead  of  the  roman- 
tic-looking Welsh  bard,  with  black  and  very  curly 
hair,  portrayed  by  the  newspaper  cartoons  and  draw- 
ings, there  stood,  cooped  up  In  the  little  witness  box, 

OCTOBER,  1908  283 

with  its  useless-looking  wooden  canopy,  a  plain  little 
man,  with  a  pale  face,  a  long  untidy  moustache  and 
hair  which,  though  he  wears  it  somewhat  long,  as 
it  is  in  the  pictures,  has  not  the  least  suspicion  of  a 
curl  but  lies  limp  and  scanty  and  is  a  dull  dingy 
brown.  At  first  he  leant  his  arm  on  the  front  of  the 
witness  box  and  looked  across  at  the  three  prisoners 
in  the  dock.  He  regarded  Christabel  Pankhurst 
curiously,  as  well  he  might,  for,  in  her  fresh  white 
muslin  dress  whose  one  note  of  colour  was  the  broad 
band  of  purple  white  and  green  stripes  around  her 
waist,  with  her  soft  brown  hair  uncovered,  the  little 
silky  curls  with  just  a  hint  of  gold  in  them  clustering 
about  her  neck,  and,  in  this  dingy  place,  her  skin 
looking  even  more  brilliantly  white  and  those  rose 
petal  cheeks  of  hers  even  more  exquisitely  and  viv- 
idly flushed  with  purest  pink  than  usual,  she  was  as 
bright  and  dainty  as  a  newly  opened  flower,  and  with 
all  her  look  of  perfect  health  and  vigour,  appeared 
so  slender  and  so  delicately  knit  as  to  have  little 
more  of  substance  in  her  than  a  briar  rose.  But 
she  was  to  triumph  over  her  opponent  in  the  witness 
box,  not  by  her  grace  and  freshness  and  by  the  outer 
aspect  of  her  vivid  glowing  personality,  but  by  her 
sparkling  wit,  her  biting  sarcasm  and  by  the  force 
and  depth  of  her  arguments.  And  these  went  home, 
not  merely  as  they  can  be  set  down  here  in  cold  dull 
print,  but  far  more  truly,  because  they  were  en- 
hanced by  the  ever«hanging  eloquence  of  gesture, 
voice,  and  facial  expression  —  by  a  lift  of  the 
eyebrows,  a  turn  of  the  head,  a  heightening  of  the 
lovely  rose  colour  that  flooded  sometimes  as  far  as 
the  white  throat  and  as  quickly  ebbed  again,  a  sweep 
of  the  slender  hand  or  a  turn  of  that  slight  virile 


frame.  All  these,  because  so  perfectly  they  echoed 
and  expressed  her  thoughts,  could  lend  to  even  the 
baldest  and  tritest  words,  a  fanciful  humour,  a  deli- 
cate irony,  or. an  inexorable  force. 

As  she  rose  to  examine  Mr.  Lloyd  George,  she 
began  quite  formally,  but  with  a  cheerful  and  pleas- 
ant manner  asking  whether  he  had  been  present  at 
the  Trafalgar  Square  meetings  on  October  nth? 
and  whether  he  had  seen  a  copy  of  the  bills  which 
were  being  distributed?  "Yes,"  he  replied,  with 
just  the  least  suspicion  of  a  smile,  "  a  young  lady 
gave  one  to  me  the  moment  I  arrived.  It  invited 
me  to  rush  the  House  of  Commons."  "  How  did 
you  interpret  the  invitation  conveyed  to  you  as  a 
member  of  the  audience  ?  "  she  asked  next  with  a 
brisk  business-like  air.  "  What  did  you  think  we 
wanted  you  to  do?"  He  replied  pompously,  "I 
really  should  not  like  to  place  an  interpretation  upon 
the  document.  I  do  not  think  it  is  quite  my  func- 
tion." "  Well,  I  am  speaking  to  you  as  a  member 
of  the  general  public,"  she  urged,  refusing  to  be  put 
off.  "  Imagine  you  were  not  at  the  meeting  at  all, 
but  were  walking  up  the  Strand,  and  someone  gave 
you  a  copy  of  this  Bill,  and  you  read  it  — -*  Help  the 
Suffragettes  to  rush  the  House  of  Commons.'  And 
suppose  you  forgot  you  were  a  member  of  the  Gov- 
ernment and  regarded  yourself  just  as  an  ordinary 
person  like  myself — ^^  quite  unofficial,"  she  added, 
smiling,  and  with  a  little  quick  shake  of  her  shoul- 
ders. "  What  would  you  think  you  were  called 
upon  to  do?"  "Really,  I  should  not  like  to  be 
called  upon  to  undertake  so  difficult  a  task  as  to  in- 
terpret that  document,"  was  the  tart  reply,  but 
Christabel  went  on.  persuasively,  "  Now  this  word 

Miss  Christabel  Fankhurst  questioning 
Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone 

OCTOBER,  1908  285 

*  rush,'  which  seems  to  be  at  the  bottom  of  it  all, 
what  does  it  mean?  "  She  waited  with  parted  lips 
and  raised  eyebrows  for  a  reply.  It  came  unwill- 
ingly. "  I  understood  the  invitation  from  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  was  to  force  an  entrance  to  the  House  of 
Commons."  "  No,  no,  I  want  you  to  keep  your 
mind  concentrated  on  the  bill,"  she  corrected.  "  Let 
us  forget  what  Mrs.  Pankhurst  said.  What  did  the 
Bill  say?  "  "  I  really  forget  what  the  Bill  said,"  he 
snapped  out  sharply.  She  repeated  the  phrase  to 
him  graciously  — "  Help  the  Suffragettes  to  rush  the 
House  of  Commons."  "  Yes,  that  is  it,"  he  as- 
sented, and  she  said,  "  I  want  you  to  define  the  word 

*  rush.'  "  "  I  cannot  undertake  to  do  that."  "  You 
cannot?"  she  asked  incredulously.  "No,  Miss 
Pankhurst,  I  cannot."  "  Well,"  she  replied,  I  will 
suggest  some  definitions  to  you.     "  I  find  that  in 

*  Chambers'  English  Dictionary '  one  of  the  mean- 
ings of  the  word  is  *  an  eager  demand.'  Now,  what 
do  you  think  of  that?  "  "  I  cannot  enter  into  com- 
petition with  *  Chambers'  Dictionary.'  I  am  pre- 
pared to  accept  it,"  he  said  stolidly. 

Mr.  Lloyd  George  was  beginning  to  turn  his  head 
away  from  her  and  to  show  every  sign  of  unwilling- 
ness to  continue  answering.  Her  imperturbable 
good  humour  made  the  situation  harder  for  him  to 
bear.  As  Max  Beerbohm  in  the  Saturday  Review 
said,  **  His  Celtic  fire  burned  very  low;  and  the  con- 
trast between  the  buoyancy  of  the  girl  and  the  de- 
pression of  the  statesman  was  almost  painful. 
Youth  and  an  ideal,  on  the  one  hand,  and  on  the 
other,  middle  age  and  no  illusions  left  over." 

But  Christabel  appeared  not  to  notice  his  discom- 
fiture :     "  *  Urgent  pressure  of  business.'     That  is 


another  meaning.  Now,  if  you  were  asked  to  help 
the  Suffragettes  to  make  an  eager  demand  to  the 
House  of  Commons  that  they  should  give  votes  to 
women,  would  you  feel  that  we  were  calling  upon 
you  to  do  an  illegal  act?  "  "  That  is  not  for  me  to 
say."  Here  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  interposed.  "  The 
witness  is  perfectly  right.  This  is  for  me  to  say 
on  the  evidence.  I  have  not  interfered  so  far,'* 
but  Christabel  went  on  unheedingly  and  continued 
gravely  reading  from  her  list  of  definitions. 
"  There  is  another  sense  in  which  the  word  *  rush  ' 
is  used  and  I  think  it  will  be  of  some  interest  to  you. 
We  use  it  in  this  connexion,  to  *  rush '  Bills  through 
Parliament."  Mr.  Lloyd  George  smiled  in  spite  of 
himself.  "  Yes,  I  think  I  have  some  experience  of 
thatl  "  he  said.  "  *  On  the  rush  '  we  are  told  in  an- 
other dictionary  means  *  in  a  hurry.'  There  is  noth- 
ing unlawful  in  being  in  a  hurry."  Mr.  Lloyd 
George  shook  himself  impatiently,  and  the  Magis- 
>trate  again  interposed;  this  time  with  more  severity. 
**  I  have  already  said  you  must  address  those  re- 
marks to  me  afterwards."  But  quite  impassively 
she  held  to  her  point  and  with  her  eyes  upon  the 
witness  continued,  "  Did  you  understand*  you  were 
asked  to  go  in  a  hurry  to  the  House  of  Commons  to 
make  this  eager  demand  for  enfranchisement?  Was 
that  the  meaning  which  the  Bill  conveyed  to  you?  " 
In  spite  of  his  remonstrances  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett 
was  evidently  enjoying  the  scene,  and  his  eyes  twin- 
kled as  he  listened  to  the  quickly  and  pleasantly  di- 
rected questions  and  to  the  slow,  grudging  replies. 
Mr.  George  kept  glancing  at  him  angrily,  and  again 
looking  severe  he  said  at  last,  **  Miss  Pankhurst,  you 
must  take  my  ruling,  please." 

OCTOBER,  1908    .  287 

At  this  she  changed  her  tack  a  little,  questioning 
Mr.  Lloyd  George  as  to  the  speeches  he  had  heard 
in  Trafalgar  Square  and  the  demeanour  of  the  crowd 
and  always  making  her  inquiries  with  a  polite  air 
of  expectation  that  valuable  fnformation  would  be 
forthcoming.  When  Mr.  Lloyd  George  admitted 
that  he  had  heard  some  part  of  Miss  Pankhurst's 
speech,  Christabel  gravely  inquired  whether  her 
mother  had  threatened  violence  to  any  member  of 
the  Government.  "  She  did  not  invite  the  audience 
to  attack  you  in  any  way?  "  she  asked.  Then  grad- 
ually, through  his  fear  of  being  made  to  appear  ridic- 
ulous, she  brought  him  to  admit  that  he  had  thought 
that,  if  the  public  responded  to  the  invitation  to 
"  rush  "  the  House  of  Commons,  the  consequences 
would  not  be  formidable  and  that  there  had  been  no 
suggestion  either  that  public  or  private  property 
should  be  damaged  or  that  any  personal  violence 
should  be  done. 

Then  she  suddenly  asked,  "  There  were  no  words 
used  so  likely  to  incite  to  violence  as  the  advice  you 
gave  at  Swansea,  that  the  women  should  be  ruth- 
lessly flung  out  of  your  meeting?  "  This  was  unex- 
pected. Mr.  Lloyd  George  frowned  and  remained 
silent.  Mr.  Muskett  stood  up  and  appealed  to  the 
Magistrate  who  interposed  as  was  expected  of  him. 
"  This  is  quite  irrelevant.  That  was  a  private 
meeting,  and  not  of  the  same  character,"  he  said  re- 
provingly. Christabel  shook  her  head.  "  It  was  a 
public  meeting,"  she  insisted.  The  Magistrate 
waved  his  hand.  "  Well,  private  in  a  sense. 
**  They  are  private  now-a-days,  that  is  quite  true, 
she  said  pointedly,  and  obviously  referring  to  the  fact 
that  ticket  meetings  only  were  now  addressed  by 



Cabinet  Ministers,  all  women  with  a  few  selected  ex- 
ceptions being  rigidly  excluded.  Then  she  went  on 
to  question  Mr.  Lloyd  George  as  to  the  reason  for 
which  the  "  rush  "  had  been  planned,  but  he  obsti- 
nately refused  to  answer. 

Turning  to  the  events  during  the  so-called  "  rush  " 
on  October  13  th,  she  elicited  the  fact  that  Mr.  Lloyd 
George  had  taken  his  little  six-year-old  daughter 
with  him  to  watch  the  scene.  "  She  was  very 
amused,"  he  said  with  a  malicious  air.  *'  You 
thought  it  was  quite  safe  for  a  child  of  those  tender 
years  to  be  amongst  the  crowd?"  asked  Christabel, 
and  this  time  it  was  her  turn  to  be  a  little  severe. 
**  I  was  not  amongst  the  crowd,"  he  snapped,  and 
later,  as  if  anxious  to  justify  himself,  added,  "  You 
see,  I  only  brought  her  from  Downing  Street  to  the 
House,  and  I  think  that  was  clear."  "  The  Prose- 
cution asserts  that  a  serious  breach  of  the  peace  took 
place,"  was  her  next  question.  "  Do  you  agree  with 
that  statement?  " 

The  Magistrate  interrupted,  "  The  Chancellor  of 
the  Exchequer  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  that," 
he  said.  "I  believe  you  are  a  lawyer?"  with  a 
quick  change  of  front,  she  asked,  turning  politely  to 
Mr.  Lloyd  George.  "Well,  I  hope  I  am,"  he  an- 
swered with  a  surly  air.  "  Don't  you  think  the 
offence  alleged  against  us  would  be  more  properly 
described  as  '  Unlawful  Assembly '  ?  "  "  There 
again,  I  was  not  put  in  the  witness  box  to  express  an 
opinion  of  that  sort,"  he  objected  and  the  Magis- 
trate again  supported  him.  She  made  another  at- 
tempt: "You  have  seen  the  form  of  summons 
against  us?  "  but  he  protested  that  he  had  not  and 

OCTOBER,  igo8  289 

did  not  know  with  what  offence  the  prisoners  were 
charged.  She  explained  to  him  the  form  of  the 
summons  and  explained  that,  owing  to  this,  the  de- 
fendants were  denied  the  right  of  trial  by  jury.  He 
merely  replied,  "  I  take  it  from  you,  Miss  Pankhurst, 
but  I  do  not  know." 

An  awkward  question  for  Mr.  Lloyd  George  was : 
**  Do  you  think  that  coercion  is  the  right  way  of 
dealing  with  political  disorders?  "  He  remained  si- 
lent, and  the  Magistrate  tried  to  help  him  out,  say- 
ing, **  It  is  not  for  the  witness  to  express  an  opinion." 
Christabel  looked  full  at  Mr.  Lloyd  George,  asking, 
**  You  refuse  to  answer?  "  **  I  do  not  refuse  to  an- 
swer," he  said,  not  very  honestly,  "  but  I  must  obey 
the  decision  of  the  Bench  that  I  cannot  express  an 
opinion  about  things  in  the  witness  box."  "  Am  I 
to  understand  that  an  answer  must  not  be  given  to 
that?"  she  appealed  to  the  Magistrate.  He  re- 
plied, *'  No."  "-Not  even  if  the  witness  would  like 
to  do  it?"  "No,"  he  said,  but  she  tried  again. 
**  Well,  is  it  likely  to  be  a  successful  way  of  dealing 
with  political  disturbances?"  But  the  Magistrate 
said,  "  That  again,  is  not  admissible."  "  But  for 
these  restrictions,  your  Worship  —  she  broke  out 
with  some  heat,  but  he  waved  her  aside  and  she 
understood  that  he  was  implacable,  so  she  turned 
cheerfully  to  the  witness  and  said,  "  Can  you  tell  me 
whether  any  interference  with  public  order  took 
place  in  connexion  with  previous  movements  for 
franchise  reform?"  "I  should  have  thought  that 
that  was  an  historical  fact,  Miss  Pankhurst,"  he  re- 
plied. Again  the  Magistrate  interposed  to  save 
him.  "  That  is  cross-examination.  The  witness 


cannot  go  into  that."  "  In  a  sense  he  is  my  wit- 
ness," she  «aid,  but  though  Mr.  Xurtis  Bennett 
smiled,  he  replied,  "  In  every  sense  at  present." 

Nevertheless  he  had  evidently  seen  the  justice  of 
the  remark  and  he  did  not  object  when  a  similar 
question  was  now  put.  It  was :  *'  Have  we  not  re- 
ceived encouragement  from  you,  or  if  not  from  you, 
from  your  colleagues  to  take  action  of  this  kind?  " 
"  I  should  be  very  much  surprised  to  hear  that.  Miss 
Pankhurst."  Mr.  George  gave  his  answer  pom- 
pously. "  You  deny  that  we  have  been  encouraged 
by  Liberal  statesmen  to  take  action  of  this  kind?  " 
she  said  eagerly.  "  I  simply  express  astonishment 
at  the  statement,"  he  said  casting  up  his  eyes  with  an 
exaggerated,  but  not  very  convincing  air  of  indigna- 
tion. "  Have  you  ever  heard  these  words  spoken  by 
us  at  Trafalgar  Square  or  by  any  Liberal  statesman : 

I  am  sorry  to  say  that  if  no  instructions  had  ever  been 
addressed  in  political  crises  to  the  people  of  this  country 
except  to  remember  to  hate  violence,  to  love  order,  and  to 
exercise  patience,  the  liberties  of  this  country  would  never 
have  been  attained. 

"Have  you  ever  heard  those  words  before?" 
"  I  cannot  call  them  to  mind."  At  this  reply  there 
was  a  sensation  in  the  court,  silent,  but  clearly  felt. 
"  Those  were  the  words  of  William  Ewart  Glad- 
stone," said  Christabel.  "  I  accept  your  statement, 
Miss  Pankhurst,"  was  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  reply, 
and  when  asked  whether  he  was  aware  that  in  1884 
Mr.  Chamberlain  had  threatened  to  march  100,000 
men  on  London,  he  again  replied,  "  I  do  not  know." 

Christabers  next  question  carried  the  war  fur- 
ther into  the  enemy's  country.     "  Is  it  not  a  fact  that 

OCTOBER,  igo8  291 

you  yourself  have  set  us  an  example  of  revolt?" 
she  asked,  but  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  interposed  to  say 
that  the  Chancellor  need  not  answer  that  question, 
and  that  she  must  not  attack  her  own  witness. 
Whilst  they  were  arguing^  Mr.  Lloyd  George  him- 
self burst  in.  "  I  never  incited  a  crowd  to  violence," 
he  said  hotly,  as  though  this  form  of  defence  had 
only  just  occurred  to  him.  **  Not  in  'the  Welsh 
Grave  Yard  case?"  she  asked.  "No I"  he  said. 
"  You  did  not  tell  them  to  break  down  a  wall  and 
disinter  a  body? "  "  I  gave  advice  which  was 
found  by  the  Court  of  Appeal  to  be  sound  legal  ad- 
vice," he  said  snappishly,  and  again  almost  turning 
his  back  upon  her.  ^'  We  think  that  we  are  giving 
sound  advice  too,"  she  said. 

After  this  Mr.  Lloyd  George  became  less  and  less 
ready  to  give  any  reply,  and  his  angry  eyes  were  con- 
tinually calling  for  the  Magistrate's  intervention. 

Miss  Pankhurst  then  cited  passages  from  "  Taylor 
on  Evidence,"  to  show  that  more  latitude  could  be 
allowed  in  questioning  a  witness  who  obviously  ap- 
peared to  be  hostile  or  interested  for  the  other  party, 
or  unwilling  to  give  evidence,  but  Mr.  Curtis  Ben- 
nett declared  that  none  of  these  descriptions  could 
be  applied  to  Mr.  Lloyd  George.  So,  with  a  ges- 
ture of  protest,  Christabel  said,  *'  I  think  I  need  not 
trouble  him  with  any  further  questions." 

After  some  questioning  by  Mrs.  Pankhurst  to  which 
Mr.  Lloyd  George  returned  the  scantiest  and  most 
surly  of  replies,  Mrs.  Drummond  said  earnestly  but 
with  a  touch  of  humour  in  her  voice. 

"  I  should  like  to  ask  Mr.  Lloyd  George  this  ques- 
tion; many  times  he  has  refused  to  answer  me. 
When  do  you  intend  to  put  a  stop  to  these  things  by 


giving  us  the  vote?  ''  Shrugging  his  shoulders,  Mr. 
Lloyd  George  turned  to  the  Magistrate  who  gave 
the  desired  reply:  "  That  is  not  a  question  for  the 
witness."  Mrs.  Drummond  added,  after  a  pause, 
quietly  and  reproachfully:  **  You  and  your  col- 
leagues are  much  to  blame  for  this  agitation." 
"  You  must  not  make  a  statement,"  said  the  Magis- 
trate." **  You  see,  we  never  get  a  chance  at  other 
times,"  said  Mrs.  Drummond  appealingly.  At  this 
Mr.  George  smiled  broadly,  but  not  very  pleasantly, 
and  shaking  his  head  said,  **  Indeed  you  do  1  "  as  he 
left  the  box. 

Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  now  told  Christabel  that  he 
wished  her  to  call  Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone  in  order 
that  the  Home  Secretary  might  not  be  detained 
from  his  duties  in  the  House  unnecessarily  but  she 
declared  that  it  was  absolutely  essential  that  she 
should  first  call  one  other  witness.  Mr.  Curtis 
Bennett  protested  and  she  said,  "  I  have  only  one 
question  to  put  to  this  lady."  *'  Very  well  then,  one 
question,"  he  said  smiling  as  though  he  scarcely  be- 
lieved her,  and  one  could  plainly  see,  determining 
to  hold  her  to  her  word.  Christabel  then  called 
"  Miss  Marie  Brackenbury,"  who  stepped  quietly  into 
the  box.  Christabel  gently  asked  her  whether  it  were 
true  that  she  had  suffered  six  weeks'  imprisonment  in 
connexion  with  this  agitation  and  as  soon  as  she  had 
assented  said  quickly,  but  in  a  clear,  penetrating 
voice,  "  Did  Mr.  Horace  Smith  tell  you  in  senten- 
cing you  to  that  term  he  was  doing  what  he  was 
told?"  "You  must  not  put  that  question  1"  al- 
most shouted  the  Magistrate.  But  the  witness  had 
already  replied,  **  He  did."     "  The  witness  has  said 

OCTOBER,  igo8  293 

*  yes,'  upon  oath,"  said  Miss  Pankhurst  triumphantly 
turning  to  the  place  where  the  Cabinet  Ministers 
sat.  There  was  a  strange  stir  in  the  court,  those 
present  feeling  that  belief  in  the  inviolability  of  Brit- 
ish Justice  was  slipping  from  their  grasp.  For  a 
moment  or  two  there  was  an  unpleasant  pause  and 
Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  sat  flushed  and  angry. 

Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone,  the  Home  Secretary,  was 
then  called  and  took  his  place  in  the  witness  box. 
With  his  shiny  bald  forehead,  ruddy  face,  prominent 
eyes  and  cofpulent  figure,  he  formed  not  only  a  strik- 
ing contrast  to  his  colleague  who  had  just  been  ex- 
amined, but  was  as  far  removed  from  the  impressive 
dignity  of  his  own  distinguished  father.  Altogether 
his  general  appearance  was  that  which  the  romantic 
idealist  would  associate  rather  with  a  comfortable 
and  prosperous  shopkeeper  than  with  a  Cabinet 
Minister.  As  soon,  as  he  had  been  sworn,  he  placed 
his  elbows  on  the  ledge  in  front  of  him  and  looked 
smilingly  around  the  court,  as  much  as  to  say,  "  Noth- 
ing of  this  kind  can  disturb  me,  I  intend  to  enjoy 

Miss  Pankhurst  began  by  endeavouring  to  fix  upon 
him  as  Home  Secretary  the  responsibility  for  the 
proceedings  against  herself  and  her  colleagues  which 
he  had  denied  in  the  House  of  Commons.  She 
succeeded  in  forcing  him  to  admit,  "  I  am  at  the 
head  of  the  responsible  department."  But  when  she 
put  the  questions  more  plainly,  saying,  "  Did  you 
not,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  instruct  the  Commissioner 
of  Police  to  take  the  present  proceedings?"  and 
"  Are  the  Government  as  a  whole  responsible  for 
these  proceedings?"     Mr.  Muskett  jumped  up,  in 


each  case,  shouting,  "I  object  to  that  I"  and  the 
Magistrate  also  said  that  the  questions  could  not  be 

They  were  also  determined  that  no  more  un- 
pleasant disclosures  were  to  be  made,  but  she  would 
not  leave  the  subject.  "  Did  you  instruct  Mr. 
Horace  Smith  to  decide  against  Miss  Brackenbury 
and  to  send  her  to  prison  for  six  weeks  ?  "  she  asked. 
"  You  cannot  put  that  question  either,"  said  Mr. 
Curtis  Bennett  in  a  slightly  raised  tone.  "  It  is  a 
pity  that  the  public  interest  should  suffer  on  that  ac- 
count," was  her  severe  reply,  and  turning  to  Mr. 
Gladstone,  she  said,  "  Did  you  offer  any  instructions 
to  Mr.  Horace  Smith?"  **  I  object  to  this;  it  is 
contempt  of  court  to  continue  putting  these  ques- 
tions I  "  indignantly  cried  Mr.  Muskett  again  spring- 
ing to  his  feet,  but  with  a  broad  sweep  of  her  hand 
she  declared,  "  The  public  will  answer  them."  Then 
turning  to  Mr.  Gladstone,  whose  enjoyment  of  the 
situation  had  now  entirely  vanished,  she  persisted, 
'*  What  do  you  suggest  is  the  meaning  of  what  Mr. 
Horace  Smith  has  said?  "  but  again  the  Magistrate 

She  next  asked  Mr.  Gladstone  to  define  the  word 
"  rush."  "  I  can  hardly  give  any  definition  of  it, 
but  a  rush  implies  force,"  he  said,  growing  more 
comfortable  again.  "  Do  you  deny  that  it  involves 
speed  rather  than  force?  "  she  asked,  and  he  replied 
smiling  and  putting  his  head  knowingly  on  one  side, 
**  Speed  generally  involves  force."  This  argument 
continued  for  some  time.  Then  she  asked: 
"  Were  you  anticipating  that  you  would  be  in  bodily 
danger  as  a  consequence  of  the  issue  of  this  Bill?  " 
"  I   did   not  think  of  it   at  all.     I   did  not  think 

OCTOBER,  1908  295 

whether  the  possibility  existed  or  not,"  he  answered, 
squaring  his  shoulders  and  throwing  out  his  chest. 
She  waved  her  hand.  "  You  are  like  us,  above  these 
considerations.  You  were  not  in  fear?"  "No, 
not  at  all,"  he  answered,  looking  pleased  with  him- 
self. **  Did  you  ever  think  that  public  property  was 
in  danger  as  a  consequence  of  this  bill  having  been 
issued?"  **  I  thought  it  quite  possible,"  he  said  a 
little  more  seriously,  **  I  thought  there  would  be  dan- 
ger from  the  crowds."  "  Then  you  were  agreeably 
disappointed  on  the  morning  of  the  14th,  when  you 
found  no  harm  had  been  done?  "  '*  No,  I  was  not. 
The  police  measures  were  sufficient  to  stop  any  seri- 
ous accident  or  danger,"  he  said  proudly  and  magis- 

She  kept  putting  questions  of  this  kind,  first  in 
one  form  then  in  another  suntil  he  began  to  grow 
tired  and  puzzled,  and  was  evidently  in  fear  of  mak- 
ing some  unwise  admission.  "Did  you  feel  that 
but  for  the  line  of  police  protecting  you,  the  crowd 
would  have  rushed  upon  you  and  attacked  you  ?  " 
she  asked  at  last  with  expressive  emphasis.  "  The 
police  were  not  protecting  me,"  he  answered  with  an 
air  of  offended  dignity;  "  I  felt  no  personal  fear." 
"  Did  any  other  person  seem  in  danger  of  attack?  " 
"  The  police  gave  them  very  little  chance."  "  What 
made  you  think  them  a  dangerous  or  hostile  crowd?  " 
"  Of  course,  I  am  quite  accustomed  to  seeing  these 
crowds.  I  know  what  has  happened  before." 
"What  has  happened?"  "Disorderly  scenes." 
Mr.  Gladstone  was  standing  up  now  and  looking 
quite  severe.  "What  harm  have  they  done?" 
"  Very  little,  as  it  happened."  "  What  harm  have 
they  attempted  to  do?"     "That  is  not  for  me  to 


answer."  "  Have  they  attempted  to  do  more  than 
secure  an  interview  with  the  Prime  Minister?" 
Mr.  Gladstone  turned  to  the  Magistrate,  who  said, 
"  That  is  not  a  question^  for  him  to  answer." 

"  We  will  go  back  to  the  13th,"  she  said.  "  Do 
you  think  anyone  was  obstructed  in  their  passage  to 
the  House  of  Commons?"  **  I  cannot  speak  for 
other  people."  "  You  saw  no  attempt  to  waylay 
Members  of  Parliament  or  Cabinet  Ministers?" 
Her  questions  continued  thick  and  fast.  He  ad- 
mitted that  he  had  seen  no  one  waylaid  or  injured 
and  no  harm  done,  but  took  refuge  in  the  assertion : 
"  There  was  a  great  crowd."  **  But  a  crowd  assem- 
bles when  the  King  goes  to  open  Parliament,"  she 
said.  He  answered  crossly,  "  Presumably,  they 
were  waiting  to  *  rush  *  the  House  of  Commons," 
and  added  later  that  he  had  heard  that  certain  po- 
lice constables  had  been  injured,  and  that  there  had 
been  thirty-seven  arrests  and  over  forty  complaints 
of  losses  of  purses  and  watches.  "  Comparing 
that  with  the  net  result  of  a  Lord  Mayor's  Show 
crowd  or  any  sort  of  procession,  really  less  harm  re- 
sulted?" she  asked,  but  he  gave  no  reply  and  her 
questioning  as  to  how  many  policemen  were  on  duty 
and  what  the  cost  had  been  to  the  country  were  sup- 
pressed by  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett. 

Presently  Christabel  asked,  "  How  do  you  define 
a  political  offence?  "  Mr.  Gladstone  leant  over  the 
edge  of  the  box  and  smiled  again.  "  I  wish  you 
would  give  me  a  good  definition,"  he  said,  in  friendly 
confidential  tones,  "  I  am  often  asked  that  question 
in  the  House  of  Commons."  "Well,  with  the 
Magistrate's  permission,  I  will,"  she  answered. 
"  A  political  offence  is  one  committed  In  connexion 

OCTOBER,  igo8  297 

with  political  disturbances  and  with  a  political  mo- 
tive." "  I  do  not  think  that  a  sufficient  explana- 
tion," he  said  with  a  challenging  air.  "  If  I  am  at 
liberty  after  this  day's  proceedings  are  over,  I  shall 
have  pleasure  in  sending  you  a  fuller  account." 
Then  she  asked,  "  Do  you  remember  that  when  a 
deputation  of  women  went  to  the  House  of  Com- 
mons to  see  the  Prime  Minister,  instead  of  being  al- 
lowed to  enter,  they  were  arrested?  "  "  I  have  no 
immediate  recollection  of  that,  only  a  general  recol- 
lection," was  the  Home  Secretary's  reply  given  with  a 
lofty  manner.  When  the  question  was  put  again  in 
a  slightly  different  form,  the  Magistrate  interrupted: 
*'  That  does  not  arise  on  the  issue."  "  It  throws  a 
light  on  it  though,"  said  Miss  Pankhurst.  "  Please 
do  obey;  otherwise  I  shall  have  to  stop  it  altogether," 
said  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett,  and  one  heard  a  note  of 
regret  in  his  voice.  He  evidently  enjoyed  the  dis- 
comfort of  the  Cabinet  Ministers  and  the  spectacle 
of  their  professing  blankest  ignorance  on  well-known 
points.  *'  I  have  given  you  much  more  licence  than 
I  should  give  Counsel,"  he  urged. 

**  In  the  action  we  took  on  the  13th  is  it  within 
your  knowledge  that  we  were  acting  on  advice  given 
by  yourself?"  Christgbel  asked.  *' I  wish  you 
would  take  my  advice,"  Mr.  Gladstone  answered. 
"  We  are  trying  to  take  it,"  she  said  quietly. 
"  What  did  you  mean  when  you  said  that  men  had 
used  force  majeure  in  demanding  the  vote?  "  "  If 
you  hand  me  the  speech,  I  daresay  I  can  tell  you." 

She  held  out  a  copy  of  it  towards  him  but  Mr. 
Curtis  Bennett  interposed.  **  How  is  this  material 
to  what  Mr.  Gladstone  saw?  You  are  cross-exam- 
ining your  own  witness.  Miss  Pankhurst,  and  you 


must  not  do  that."  **  May  I  not  ask  any  explana- 
tion whatsoever  as  to  the  counsel  given  to  us?  "  she 
asked  with  a  persuasive  air.  "  No,  you  may  not," 
the  Magistrate  replied  sternly.  "  We  never  have 
any  opportunity.  May  I  ask  whether  he  made  cer- 
tain statements?"  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  smiled  and 
pretended  not  to  notice,  and  Christabel  eagerly 
turned  to  Mr.  Gladstone,  reading  from  the  printed 
copy  of  his  speech.  '*  Did  you  say  it  was  impossible 
not  to  sympathise  with  the  eagerness  and  passion 
which  have  actuated  so  many  women  on  this  sub- 
ject?" **  Yes,"  he  replied.  "Did  you  say  men 
had  had  to  struggle  for  centuries  for  their  political 
rights?  "  "  Yes."  "  Did  you  say  that  they  had  to 
fight  from  the  time  of  Cromwell  and  that  for  the  last 
130  years  the  warfare  had  been  perpetual?"  His 
smile  was  growing  broader  and  broader.  "Yes," 
he  said.  "  Did  you  say  that  on  this  question  expe- 
rience showed  that  predominance  of  argument. alone 
—  and  you  believed  that  that  had  been  attained  — 
was  not  enough  to  win  the  political  day?  Did  you 
say  that?  "  "  Yes."  "  Did  you  say  that  we  are  in 
the  stage  of  what  is  called  '  academic  discussion,* 
which  serves  for  the  ventilation  of  pious  opinions 
and  is  accompanied,  you  admit,  by  no  effective  action 
on  the  part  of  the  Government,  or  of  political  par- 
ties or  of  voters  throughout  the  country?  "  "  Yes." 
"  Did  you  say  that  members  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons reflect  the  opinion  of  the  country,  not  only  in 
regard  to  the  number  of  people  outside,  but  in  re- 
gard to  the  intensity  of  the  feeling  in  support  of  a 
movement,  and  that  the  Government  must  neces- 
sarily be  a  reflex  of  the  party  which  brought  it  into 
being?"     "Yes."     "Did   you    say    this:     *  There 

OCTOBER,  igo8  299 

comes  a  time  when  political  dynamics  are  far  more 
important  than  political  arguments  ? '  You  said 
that?  "  "  Yes."  "  And  that  *  men  had  learned  this 
lesson?'"  "Yes."  "And  that  they  know  the 
necessity  for  *  demonstrating  that  force  majeure 
which  actuates  and  arms  a  Government  for  effective 
work'?"  "Yes,  I  think  it  was  a  most  excellent 
speech  I  "  he  said  nodding  his  head  and  smiling  up 
at  the  prisoner  evidently  regarding  the  whole  affair 
as  a  very  good  joke.  The  court  laughed  too,  but 
for  a  different  reason,  and  the  Magistrate  raised  no 

"  I  agree  with  you,"  said  Christabel,  smiling  de- 
murely, "  Did  you  say  that  this  was  the  task  before 
the  leaders  of  this  great  movement  ? "  "Yes." 
"  Did  you  speak  of  people  assembled  in  tens  of 
thousands  in  the  'thirties,  'sixties  and  'eighties,  and 
do  you  know  that  we  have  done  it  in  Hyde  Park, 
and  on  Woodhouse  Moor  and  other  places?" 
"  Yes."  "  Why  don't  you  give  us  the  vote  then?  " 
she  said  with  quick  emphasis,  and  the  court  laughed 
again.  "  Are  you  aware  of  the  words  your  distin- 
guished father  spoke  on  the  matter?  "  she  continued. 
"  I  heard  the  quotation."  "  Do  you  assent  to  the 
proposition  he  laid  down?"  "Yes."  "Then  you 
cannot  condemn  our  methods  any  more,"  she  said 
triumphantly.  "  That  is  hardly  a  matter  for  my 
opinion,"  he  said,  suddenly  remembering  that  he  must 
preserve  his  dignity.  "  It  is  a  very  interesting  ques- 
tion, though.  I  need  not  trouble  you  further,"  she 

Now  Mrs.  Pankhurst  rose  and  the  witness  turned 
to  her  quite  cheerfully.  "  I  want  to  ask  Mr.  Glad- 
stone," she  said,  "  if  he  is  aware  that  the  consequence 


of  our  being  ordered  to  be  bound  over  is  that  we 
cannot  consent  and  th%t  we  shall  go  to  prison?" 
"  That  is  a  matter  of  U^»  and  not  for  the  witness," 
interposed  the  Magistrate.  "  If  that  happens  to  us, 
if  we  go  to  prison,  I  hope  that  Mr.  Gladstone  will 
see  that  we  go  as  political  offenders,"  she  said,  but 
again  the  Magistrate  intervened.  "  Do  you  think 
we  should  be  likely  to  break  the  law  if  we  had  the 
same  means  of  representation  as  men?"  she  then 
asked,  and  Mr.  Gladstone  replied  with  pompous 
amiability.  "  I  am  sure  your  motive  is  excellent,  but 
that  is  a  hypothetical  question  which  I  cannot  an- 

Mrs.  Pankhurst  was  irritated.  "  I  will  ask  Mr. 
Gladstone,"  she  said,  "  whether,  in  his  opinion  we 
should  be  treated  as  ordinary  criminals,  searched, 
stripped  and  put  into  cells  as  though  we  were  drunk- 
ards and  pickpockets?"  "You  must  not  put  that 
question,"  said  the  Magistrate.  The  case  amused 
him,  but  he  did  not  like  the  unpleasant  side  pf  it  put 

This  concluded  the  evidence  of  the  Cabinet  Min- 
isters, and  as  they  were  about  to  leave  the  court, 
Christabel  graciously  said,  "  May  we  tender  our 
warm  thanks  to  these  two  gentlemen  who  have  done 
us  the  favour  of  coming  forward  to  give  evidence?  " 
She  then  called  a  number  of  witnesses  in  support  of 
her  contention  that  the  crowd  on  the  night  of  the 
13th  was  an  orderly  one  and  that  no  violence  was 
done.  Amongst  these  were  Colonel  Massy,  for- 
merly of  the  Sixth  Dragoon  Guards,  Lady  Constance 
Lytton,  and  Mr.  Nevinson,  a  well-known  leader- 
writer,  and  \yar  correspondent.  Mrs.  May,  another 
witness,  said  that  in  her  opinion  the  word  **  rush  " 

Mr.    Herbert  Gladstone  in  the  witness-box  beine 
examined  by  Miss  Christabel  Pankhurst,  October,  1908 

OCTOBER,  igo8  301 

had  been  used  on  the  famous  handbill  in  a  sense  sim- 
ilar  to  that  conveyed  by  the  expression  "  A  dash  to 
the  North  Pole,"  explaining,  that  though  an  attempt 
to  reach  the  North  Pole  is  described  as  a  *'  dash,"  it 
is,  in  reality,  the  slowest  possible  mode  of  travel.  In 
the  same  way  she  imagined  that  the  public  had  been 
asked  to  "  rush  "  the  House  of  Commons  into  pass- 
ing a  Votes  for  Women  measure. 

Then  came  Miss  Evelyn  Sharp,  well  known  as 
a  writer  of  delightful  stories  for  children,  one  of 
those  frail  wan-faced  little  people,  who,  whilst  look- 
ing always  as  though  a  puff  of  strong  wind  would 
carry  them  away,  yet  manage  to  accomplish  such 
quantities  of  work  as  fill  the  strongest  with  amaze, 
and  at  the  same  time  have  ever  ready  a  fund  of  the 
brightest  and  cheeriest  good  humour.  Now  she  told 
in  the  funniest  and  most  winning  way,  that  she  had 
taken  the  fateful  handbill  as  an  invitation  to  go  to 
the  House  of  Commons  and,  if  possible,  not  to  turn 
back,  and  how,  when  she  had  found  the  police  were 
determined  to  bar  the  way  up  Victoria  Street,  she 
had  stooped  and  dodged  between  them  in  the  middle 
of  a  scene  which  she  described  as  being  "  like  a  rush 
at  hockey." 

Miss  F.  E.  Macaulay,  an  historical  student,  then 
gave  several  instances  of  women  having  gone  to  the 
House  of  Commons  for  the  purpose  of  presenting 
petitions  in  ancient  days  and  said  she  considered  that 
the  Suffragettes  were  only  reviving  an  ancient  cus- 

Meanwhile  the  day  had  passed;  the  case  had  be- 
gun at  ten  and  it  was  now  seven  o'clock.  Except 
for  half  an  hour  at  lunch  time,  there  had  been  no  in- 
terval and  during  all  these  hours,  but  for  an  occa- 


sional  brief  five  minutes  or  so  when  Mrs.  Pankhurst 
or  Mrs.  Drummond  had  taken  a  turn,  Christabel 
had  been  constantly  examining  witnesses,  remaining 
always  eager,  alert,  and  full  of  energy  and  resource. 
Several  times  she  had  applied  for  an  adjournment, 
but  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  was  just  as  anxious  to  tire 
her  out  and  thus  finish  the  trial,  as  she  was  to  pro- 
long it.  At  last,  at  half  past  seven,  he  asked  how 
many  further  witnesses  she  proposed  to  put  into  the 
box.  She  replied,  "  About  fifty.  We  are  sorry  to 
take  up  the  time  of  the  court,  but  we  are  fighting  for 
our  liberty."  On  hearing  this,  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett 
decided  to  adjourn  the  hearing  of  the  case  until  the 
following  Saturday,  ordering  that  the  defendants 
should  be  released  on  bail  as  before. 

So  Christabel  had  won  for  the  time  being.  What- 
ever the  final  result  might  be  the  defendants  had 
three  more  days  of  freedom  before  them,  and  the 
case  which  by  the  long  accounts  of  it  that  were  ap- 
pearing in  every  newspaper  was  interesting  thou- 
sands of  people  in  the  Votes  for  Women  movement, 
was  to  be  carried  on  for  another  day.  Criminal 
cases,  many  of  them  dealing  with  the  foulest  and 
most  sordid  crimes,  are  allowed  to  drag  on  for  weeks 
and  even  months,  whilst  public  time,  public  money, 
and  public  interest  is  lavishly  expended  upon  them; 
we  felt  that  we  need  not  scruple  then  to  prolong,  as 
far  as  we  possibly  could,  a  trial  dealing  with  great 
political  issues.  Moreover,  our  second  Albert  Hall 
meeting  had  been  fixed  for  October  29th  and  we 
hoped  that  the  defendants  might  be  free  to  speak 
that  night. 

When  Saturday  morning  at  length  came  round 
and  the  prisoners  again  took  their  places  in  the  dock, 

OCTOBER,  igo8  303 

it  was  at  once  evident  that  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  was 
determined  to  bring  the  case  to  an  abrupt  conclu- 
sion. Speaking  in  sharper  and  harsher  tones  than  any 
we  had  heard  from  him  before,  he  announced  that 
he  had  decided  only  to  hear  two  or  three  more  wit- 
nesses whom  the  defendants  might  specially  select, 
unless  there  were  others  who  could  give  evidence 
relevant  to  the  case  in  regard  to  a  set  of  facts  en- 
tirely diflFerent  from  any  that  had  been  raised.  As 
this  decision  might  take  the  defendants  by  surprise 
he  would  allow  an  adjournment  of  half  an  hour 
in  which  they  might  consider  which  of  their  witnesses 
they  would  prefer  to  call.  Requests  to  state  what 
class  of  evidence  he  would  consider  relevant,  both 
from  Christabel  and  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  the  Magistrate 
met  with  a  curt  refusal  to  say  anything  further,  and 
Christabel  was  not  in  form  to  overcome  his  objec- 
tions as  she  had  been  on  the  previous  days.  Indeed 
we  now  saw  with  anxiety  that  the  excitement  and 
extra  pressure  of  work  of  the  last  few  weeks,  coupled 
with  the  constant  heavy  routine  entailed  by  her  po- 
sition in  the  Union  and  the  great  strain  of  conduct- 
ing this  case,  had  begun  to  tell  on  her  and,  for  the 
first  time  in  her  life,  we  began  to  fear  that  she  might 
break  down.  But  even  now  she  would  not  abandon 
the  fight  to  prolong  the  case.  It"  was  impossible  in 
half  an  hour  to  examine  individually  the  hundreds 
of  persons  who  had  by  this  time  offered  to  testify 
as  witnesses,  in  order  to  find  out  which  of  them 
would  prove  most  valuable  to  our  case.  The  only 
thing  to  be  done  was  to  choose  a  few,  almost  at  ran- 
dom, who  possessed  some  special  position  or  influ- 
ence, and  whom  we  also  knew  personally  to  be  par- 
ticularly sympathetic  and  observant. 


When  the  half  hour  had  elapsed  and  the  prisoners 
had  again  taken  their  places,  Christabel  first  called 
Mr.  James  Murray,  the  Liberal  Member  of  Parlia- 
ment for  East  Aberdeenshire,  who  had  so  kindly 
come  to  the  rescue  when  bail  had  been  refused  at 
Bow  Street-  He  stepped  into  the  box,  a  huge  figure 
immaculately  dressed  and  faultlessly  groomed,  and 
turned  his  big  ruddy,  good  humoured  face  towards 
the  three  prisoners  with  a  kindly  smile.  When 
asked  by  Christabel  if  he  were  present  at  the  meet- 
ing in  Trafalgar  Square  on  Sunday,  October  nth, 
he  replied:  '*  I  was  going  into  the  National  Gal- 
lery and  saw  a  collection  of  well  dressed  people  in 
the  Square.  I  think  your  mother  was  speaking,  but 
I  could  not  hear  anything.  What  struck  me  was 
that  the  crowd  listening  to  her  was  composed  of  ex- 
actly the  type  of  people  who  go  to  Church  on  Sun- 
day in  Scotland."  "  Then  they  must  have  been  very 
respectable,"  said  Christabel.  "  Did  you  get  a  copy 
of  the  Bill?  "  "  No."  "  I  daresay  you  saw  it  in 
the  papers?"  "I  saw  a  statement  in  the  papers." 
"  How  did  you  understand  the  word  *  rush  '  ?  " 
"  I  did  not  take  the  matter  seriously  at  all."  Here 
Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  interrupted  curtly,  **  That  really 
is  for  me.  Miss  Pankhurst,  as  I  have  told  you." 
*'  Did  you  resolve  to  accept  the  invitation?  "  Chris- 
tabel asked.  "  I  could  not  very  well,  you  see,"  said 
Mr.  Murray  smiling  broadly,  **  because  I  was  inside 
the  citadel."  "  He  has  the  right  of  entry,"  said 
Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  with  mock  solemnity,  and  for  the 
first  time  that  morning  with  a  twinkle  in  his  eyes. 
"Were  you  near  Westminster  on  the  13th?"  was 
the  next  question.  **  I  was  in  the  House  and  sitting 
down  to  dinner  when  I  got  a  telegram  from  your 

OCTOBER,  igo8  305 

mother  sent  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Bow  Street, 
asking  me  to  go  across  there."  *'  This  cannot  be 
relevant,'*  said  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  sharply,  but  Mr. 
Murray  merely  looked  amused,  and  went  on :  "  In 
coming  here  I  drove  in  a  hansom  up  Parliament 
Street.  The  whole  place  was  like  a  besieged  city 
except  that  we  had  police  officers  instead  of  soldiers. 
A  little  beyond  Dover  House  the  crowd  was  held 
back  by  a  cordon,  but  I  had  not  the  slightest  diffi- 
culty in  getting  through  in  a  hansom.  Afterwards 
I  returned  to  the  House  by  the  Strand  and  the  Em- 
bankment and  had  very  little  trouble  in  getting 
back."  "Was  it  a  disorderly  crowd?"  "No,  I 
think  you  could  say  an  ordinary  London  crowd." 

"  Did  you  come  to  the  conclusion  that  the  persons 
who  had  called  the  meeting  had  done  so  with  a  de- 
sire to  incite  the  crowd  to  disorder  or  damage?  "  It 
was  Mrs.  Pankhurst  who  spoke  now.  "  No,"  an- 
swered Mr.  Murray,  "  I  thought  that  if  it  were  for 
any  purpose  at  all  it  was  to  advertise  the  cause." 
"  You  know  something  of  the  women  who  are  con- 
ducting this  agitation?"  was  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  next 
question,  and  Mr.  Murray  said  gallantly:  "Yes, 
I  have  the  greatest  admiration  for  them;  for  their 
earnestness  of  purpose,  ability,  and  general  manage- 
ment of  the  whole  scheme.  "  You  know  they  have 
tried  every  other  political  method?  "  "  Yes,  and  if 
they  had  been  men  instead  of  women  they  would  not 
have  been  in  the  dock  now  —  judging  by  the  past." 
"  Do  you  agree  with  Mr.  Lloyd  George  when  he 
said  that  if  the  Government  would  give  us  what  we 
are  asking  for  this  agitation  would  cease?  "  "  I 
have  no  doubt  it  would.     I  go  further  than  Mr. 

Lloyd  George  and  I  say  you  are  entitled  to  it,"  said 


the  witness  with  fervour,  and  then,  with  a  genial  mo- 
tion of  farewell  to  the  prisoners  he  withdrew. 

After  Dr.  Miller  Macquire,  the  well  known  Army 
coach,  a  stout  little  man  with  a  black  moustache  and 
a  strong  Irish  brogue,  and  Miss  Agnes  Murphy,  an 
Australian,  a  quiet-volced,  pale-faced  lady  had  also 
given  evidence,  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  said  that  he 
would  hear  no  more  witnesses.  Every  attempt  to 
overcome  his  decision  failed  and  Chrlstabel  then  ap- 
plied for  an  adjournment  In  order  that  she  and  her 
companions  might  be  In  a  position  to  do  themselves 
full  justice  when  they  addressed  the  court.  Every- 
one present  anxiously  hoped  that  this  request  would 
be  granted,  for  It  was  evident  that  the  woman  who 
had  hitherto  conducted  the  defence  so  brilliantly, 
was  almost  worn  out.  The  Magistrate,  however, 
was  determined  to  bring  the  case  to  an  end,  and  he 
said,  "  You  have  had  a  long  time  to  take  this  matter 
Into  consideration,  you  must  either  address  me  now, 
or  not  at  all."  She  protested  that  the  case  was  be- 
ing "  rushed  '^  through  the  court,  and  at  this  there 
was  laughter  and  applause,  for  everyone  recognised 
the  play  on  the  word  "  rush."  But  Mr.  Curtis  Ben- 
nett said  hotly,  *'  Are  you  going  to  address  me  or 
not?  "  With  a  gesture  of  protest,  Chrlstabel  Pank- 
hurst  then  began  to  speak  in  her  own  defence.  She 
held  In  her  hand  a  sheaf  of  type-written  notes,  con- 
taining dates  and  quotations,  but  every  word  of  her 
brilliant  speech  was  extemporised.  She  spoke 
quickly,  and  with  a  passionate  emotion  which  is  usu- 
ally foreign  to  her.  When  she  referred  to  the  na- 
ture of  the  prosecution  and  to  the  conduct  of  the 
Government  in  having  denied  the  women  the  trial  by 
jury  to  which  the  nature  of  their  alleged  defence  en- 

OCTOBER,  igo8  307 

titled  them  and  in  having  preferred  to  hustle  their 
case  through  the  police  court  where  the  drunkards 
and  pickpockets  are  tried,  it  was  with  a  thrill  of  in- 
dignation that  spread  through  the  court. 

She  began  by  declaring  that  these  proceedings  had 
been  taken  **  out  of  malice  and  for  vexation,"  and 
**  in  order  to  lame,  in  an  illegitimate  way,  a  political 
enemy."  In  proof  of  this  she  cited  the  attitude  of 
the  Government  towards  the  present  women's  move- 
ment from  its  very  beginning  three  years  before. 
She  drew  attention  to  the  fact,  which  had  been  sworn 
to  in  the  witness  box,  that  Mr.  Horace  Smith  had 
allowed  himself  to  be  coerced  by  the  Government 
into  settling,  in  conjunction  with  them,  whether  a 
certain  lady  charged  in  connection  with  this  agitation, 
was  guilty,  and  even  the  term  of  imprisonment  which 
was  to  be  inflicted  upon  her  before  the  evidence  had 
been  heard. 

"  Now,  this  policy  of  the  Government  of  weight- 
ing the  scales  against  us,"  Christabel  declared,  "  is 
not  of  interest  merely  to  us,  but  to  the  whole  com- 
munity. In  the  course  of  British  history  we  have 
seen  many  struggles  for  the  purification  of  our  ju- 
dicial system.  ...  It  has  been  left  to  the 
twentieth  century  —  to  these  so-called  democratic 
days  —  to  see  our  judicial  system  corrupted  for  party 
ends.  I  am  glad  that  we  have  been  able  to  perform 
the  public  duty  and  service  of  doing  something  to 
attack  this  evil  while  it  is  in  the  bud.     .     .     ." 

Dealing  with  the  form  of  the  summons,  she  urged 
that,  if  she  and  her  colleagues  were  guilty  of  any 
offence,  it  was  that  of  illegal  assembly,  but  the 
Government  had  not  charged  them  with  this  offence, 
because  they  had  wished  to  keep  their  trial  in  the 


police  court  and  to  prevent  it  from  coming  before  a 
jury.  *'  They  believe,  that  by  this  means,"  she  said, 
"  they  will  succeed  in  prejudicing  the  public  against 
us.  We  know  perfectly  well  that  up  till  recently 
the  general  public  shunned  the  police  court  as  a  dis- 
graceful place.  Well,  I  think  that  by  our  presence 
here  we  have  done  something  to  relieve  the  police 
tourt  of  that  unenviable  reputation.  We  have  done 
something  to  raise  its  status  in  the  public  eye. 

"  The  authorities  dare  not  see  this  case  come  be- 
fore a  jury,"  she  continued,  "  because  they  knew  per- 
fectly well  that  if  it  were  heard  before  a  jury  of 
our  countrymen  we  should  be  acquitted,  just  as  John 
Burns  was  acquitted  years  ago  for  taking  action  far 
more  serious,  far  more  dangerous  to  the  public  peace 
than  anything  we  have  done.  Yes,  I  say  they  are 
afraid  of  sending  us  before  a  jury,  and  I  am  quite 
sure  that  this  will  be  obvious  to  the  public,  and  that 
the  Government  will  suffer  from  the  underhand,  the 
unworthy  and  the  disgraceful  subterfuge  by  which 
they  have  removed  this  case  to  what  we  can  only  call 
a  Star  Chamber  of  the  twentieth  century.  Yes,  this 
is  a  Star  Chamber.  .  .  .  We  are  deprived  of 
trial  by  jury.  We  are  also  deprived  of  the  right 
of  appeal  against  the  magistrate's  decision.  Very, 
very  carefully  has  this  procedure  been  thought  out; 
very,  very  cunningly  has  it  been  thought  to  hedge  us 
in  on  every  side,  and  to  deprive  us  of  our  rights  in 
the  matter!  Though  we  are  rendered  liable  to  six 
months'  imprisonment,  we  are  yet  denied  the  privi- 
leges in  making  our  defence  that  people  liable  to 
three  months'  imprisonment  enjoy.  We  shall  be 
told  in  the  House  of  Commons  no  doubt  —  we  have 
been  told  the  same  thing  before  now  —  that  we  are 

OCTOBER,  igo8  309 

only  bound  over,  we  need  not  go  to  prison,  if  we  go 
to  prison  we  have  only  ourselves  to  thank.  .  .  . 
If  the  case  is  decided  against  us,  if  we  are  called 
upon  to  be  bound  over,  it  must  be  remembered  that 
that  amounts  to  imprisoning  us,  and  that  therefore 
the  authorities  cannot  possibly  escape  their  responsi- 
bility in  sending  us  to  prison  by  saying  that  we  could 
be  at  liberty  if  we  liked.  Magna  Charta  has  been 
practically  torn  up  by  the  present  Government. 
.  .  .  We  consider  that  it  is  not  we  who  ought 
to  be  in  the  dock  to-day,  but  the  people  who  are  re- 
sponsible for  such  a  monstrous  state  of  affairs." 

Then  she  went  on  to  deal  with  the  reasons  for 
issuing  the  bill :  "  We  do  not  deny  at  all  that  we 
issued  this  bill ;  none  of  us  three  have  wished  to  deny 
responsibility.  We  did  issue  the  bill;  we  did  cause 
It  to  be  circulated;  we  did  put  upon  it  the  words 
'  Come  and  help  the  Suffragettes  to  rush  the  House  of 
Commons.'  For  these  words  we  do  not  apologise. 
.  .  .  It  is  very  well  known  that  we  took  this 
action  in  order  to  press  forward  a  claim,  which,  ac- 
cording to  the  British  Constitution,  we  are  well  en- 
titled to  make.  After  all,  we  are  seeking  only  to 
enforce  the  observance  of  the  law  of  the  land  that 
taxation  and  representation  must  go  together,  and 
that  one  who  obeys  the  laws  must  have  a  share  in 
making  them.  Therefore,  when  we  claim  the  Par- 
liamentary vote,  we  are  asking  the  Government  to 
abandon  the  illegal  practice  of  denying  representa- 
tion to  those  who  have  a  perfect  right  to  it. 

**  I  want  here  to  insist,"  she  said,  "  upon  the  legal- 
ity of  the  action  which  we  have  taken.  We  have  a 
perfectly  constitutional  right  to  go  ourselves  in  per- 
son to  lay  our  grievances  before  the  House  of  Com- 


mons,  and  as  one  witness  —  an  expert  student  of 
history  —  pointed  out  to  you,  we  are  but  pursuing  a 
legitimate  course  which  in  the  old  days  women  pur- 
sued without  the  smallest  interference  by  the  authori- 

In  regard  to  the  meaning  of  the  word  "  rush,"  she 
pointed  out  that  a  large  number  of  witnesses  had 
been  examined,  and  that  all  these  witnesses  had  testi- 
fied that,  according  to  their  interpretation  of  the 
word  "  rush,"  no  violence  was  counselled. 

"  The  word  *  rush/  "  Christabel  said,  "  appears  to  be  very 
much  the  rage  just  now.  We  find  that  at  a  meeting  of  the 
League  for  the  Preservation  of  Swiss  Scenery,  Mr.  Richard 
Whiteing,  discussing  the  question  of  Swiss  railways,  sug- 
gested that  a  general  *  rush  '  to  the  Italian  Alps  might  induce 
the  Swiss  to  listen  to  reason.  Well,  I  do  not  think  that 
anyone  here  would  suggest  that  Mr.  Whiteing  meant  to 
offer  any  violence  to  the  Swiss  in  his  use  of  the  word  *  rush.' 
He  meant  to  imply  that  a  speedy  advance  should  be  made 
to  the  Italian  Alps.  Then  we  have  Mr.  McKinnon  Wood 
counselling  the  electors  to  *  rush '  the  County  Council,  and 
get  a  lady  elected  to  that  body. 

"  I  want  to  submit  that  *  rush  '  as  a  transitive  verb  can- 
not mean  *  attack,'  *  assail,'  *  make  a  raid  upon,'  or  anything 
of  that  kind." 

In  support  of  her  contentions,  Christabel  quoted 
the  definitions  given  by  many  dictionaries,  including 
The  Century  Dictionary,  Chambers'  English  Diction- 
ary, and  Farmer  and  Henley's  Dictionary  of  Slang 
which  gave  amongst  other  meanings  of  the  word 
"  rush  "  "  an  eager  demand,"  "  urgent  pressure  of 
business,"  **  hurry  or  hasten, —  it  may  be  unduly," 
"  to  go  forward  over  hastily;  for  example  a  number 
of  Bills  are  *  rushed  '  through  Parliament  or  a  case  is 

OCTOBER,  igo8  311 

'  rushed '  through  a  law  court."  One  of  the  defini- 
tions ran,  "  A  '  rusher,'  a  go-ahead  person,"  whilst 
'*  on  the  rush  "  was  said  to  mean  "  in  a  hurry,"  and 
"  with  a  rush,  with  spirit  or  energetically." 

Christabel  also  displayed  a  little  label  which  had 
been  sent  to  her  during  the  progress  of  the  case.  It 
stated,  "  Rush  by  first  train  leaving,"  and  was  used 
in  America  for  parcels  required  to  reach  their  desti- 
nation early.  She  reminded  the  magistrate  of  Mrs. 
May's  comparison  of  the  phrase  "  rush  the  House 
of  Commons  "  with  "  a  dash  for  the  Pole,"  saying: 

"  Everyone  knows  that  you  cannot  get  to  the  Pole 
in  a  hurry,  but  you  can  try  to  get  there  in  a  hurry, 
and  that  is  what  *  a  dash  to  the  Pole '  means. 
Everyone  knows  that  with  a  timid  Government  like 
the  present,  having  at  its  service  the  entire  Metro- 
politan Police  Force,  if  one  woman  says  she  is  going 
to  rush  the  House  of  Commons,  there  will  be  an 
immense  number  of  police  to  prevent  her  doing  it. 
Nobody,  then,  having  regard  to  the  facts  I  have 
mentioned,  thought  the  women  would  rush  the 
House  of  Commons,  but  they  knew  that  the  women 
would  be  there  to  show  their  indignation  against  the 
Government,  and  I  am  glad  to  say  that  they  were 
there.  It  may  mean  six  months'  imprisonment,  but 
I  think  it  is  worth  it. 

**  We  are  anxious  to  know  by  what  statute  it  is 
illegal  to  go  to  the  House  of  Commons,  walk  up  the 
steps  and  make  our  way  to  the  Strangers'  Entrance? 
We  should  like  to  know  whether  that  is  an  illegal 
thing  to  do,  and,  if  it  is  not  illegal  to  go  at  a  slow 
pace,  we  should  like  to  know  whether  it  is  illegal  to 
go  at  a  quick  pace,  because  that  is  what  the  word 
*  rush  '  means.     *  To  rush  the  House  of  Commons  ' 


IS  to  go  with  all  possible  speed  inside  the  House  of 
Commons,  and  I  hope  that  we  shall  be  told  what 
statute  we  have  contravened  by  doing  it  ourselves, 
or  by  sending  or  inviting  others  to  do  it." 

Miss  Pankhurst  next  referred  to  the  speeches 
made  in  Trafalgar  Square  on  October  nth.  She 
was  glad  that  the  prosecution  had  raised  this  point 
because  it  was  all  in  the  defendant's  favor.  The 
speeches  made  at  that  meeting  were  made  in  inter- 
pretation of  the  famous  handbill  and  all  the  wit- 
nesses who  had  heard  those  speeches,  not  excepting 
Mr.  Lloyd  George  himself,  were  agreed  that  they 
contained  nothing  inflammatory  and  no  incitement 
to  violence  whatsoever.     Christabel  continued: 

"It  is  not  because  of  anything  serious  that  oc- 
curred on  October  13th,  or  was  expected  to  occur, 
that  we  are  here ;  we  are  here  in  order  that  we  may 
be  kept  out  of  the  way  for  some  months,  and  may 
cease  from  troubling  the  Government  for  as  long  a 
period  as  they  can  find  it  in  them,  or  for  which  the 
public  will  allow  them,  to  deprive  us  of  our  liberty." 

Whilst  hosts  of  witnesses  had  testified  to  the 
orderly  character  of  the  crowd,  she  pointed  out  that 
two  police  officers  only  had  been  put  forward  on  the 
other  side.  The  prosecution  had  been  unable  to 
bring  forward  a  single  impartial  person.  But  police 
evidence  appeared  to  be  all  that  was  considered  in 
the  Police  Court,  and  she  cried  out  passionately : 

It  seems  to  me  that  the  Prosecution,  the  witnesses,  the 
authorities,  the  magistrates,  are  all  on  one  side,  they  are  all 
in  the  same  box,  and  the  prisoner  charged  with  an  offence 
IS  absolutely  helpless  whatever  facts  he  may  bring  forward. 
It  is  indeed  a  waste  of  time  to  bring  evidence.  Over  the 
doors  of  this  court  ought  to  be  the  motto,  "  Abandon  hope, 

OCTOBER,  igo8  313 

all  ye  who  enter  here."  We  do  not  care  for  ourselves,  be- 
cause imprisonment  is  nothing  to  us;  but  when  we  think  of 
the  thousands  of  helpless  creatures  who  come  into  this  mon- 
strous place  with  nobody  to  help  them,  nobody  to  plead  for 
them,  and  we  know  perfectly  well  that  they  are  found  guilty 
before  they  have  a  chance  of  defending  themselves,  the  in- 
justice that  is  done  in  these  courts  is  almost  too  terrible  to 

We  saw  then  those  helpless  creatures,  as  we  had 
done  so  often,  and  as  Christabel  called  up  their  image, 
her  voice  broke  and  there  were  tears  on  her  face. 
"  I  am  thankful  to  think,"  she  said  triumphantly, 
"  that  we  have  been  able,  by  submitting  ourselves  to 
the  absurd  proceedings  that  are  conducted  here,  to 
ventilate  this  fearful  wrong." 

Christabel  next  developed  the  contention  that  in 
the  course  which  they  had  taken  the  women  had  fol- 
lowed historical  precedent  and  had  been  encouraged 
by  statesmen  and  especially  by  Liberal  statesmen. 
The  Reform  Acts  had  been  obtained  by  disorder. 
Prior  to  1832,  the  Mansion  House,  the  Custom 
House,  the  Bishop's  Palace,  the  Excise  Office,  three 
prisons,  four  toll-houses,  and  forty-two  private 
dwellings  and  warehouses  had  been  burnt.  Amongst 
other  things,  the  breaking-down  of  the  Hyde  Park 
railings  won  the  Reform  Act  of  1867.  In  1884 
there  were  the  Aston  Park  riots.  John  Bright 
threatened  to  crowd  the  streets  from  Westminster 
Bridge  to  Charing  Cross.  Lord  Randolph  Church- 
Ill  advised  the  voters  of  Ulster  —  and  voters  have 
other  means  of  urging  their  opinions  —  to  resort 
"  to  the  supreme  arbitrament  of  force."  He  said, 
**  Ulster  will  fight  and  Ulster  will  be  right,"  and  as 
a  result  of  his  words  dangerous  riots  almost  amount- 


ing  to  warfare  occurred,  yet  he  was  never  prosecuted. 
Joseph  Chamberlain  threatened  to  march  one  hun- 
dred thousand  men  on  London,  but  no  proceedings 
were  taken  against  him.  **  The  Gladstone  of  those 
days,"  Chrlstabel  declared,  **  was  less  absurd,  hesi- 
tating, and  cowardly  than  the  present  Gladstone  and 
his  colleagues,  and  therefore  he  took  the  statesman- 
like action  of  pressing  forward  the  Reform  Bill  in- 
stead of  taking  proceedings  against  Mn  Chamber- 
lain. Even  a  vote  of  censure  moved  upon  Mr. 
Chamberlain  in  the  House  of  Commons,  was  de- 
feated." John  Burns,  whose  language  was  far  more 
violent  than  any  that  the  women  had  used,  was  tried 
at  the  Old  Bailey  and  acquitted.  He  said  in  his 
speech  that  he  was  a  rebel,  because  he  was  an  out- 
law. Well,  that  fact  will  support  us  in  all  we  have 
done.  If  we  go  to  far  greater  lengths  than  we  have 
done  yet,  we  shall  only  be  following  in  the  footsteps 
of  a  man  who  is  now  a  member  of  the  Government. 
Following  out  this  line  of  thought,  Chrlstabel  went 

Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone  has  told  us  in  the  speech  I  read 
to  him  that  the  victory  of  argument  alone  is  not  enough. 
As  we  cannot  hope  to  win  by  force  of  argument  alone,  it  is 
necessary  to  overcome  the  savage  resistance  of  the  Govern- 
ment to  our  claim  for  citizenship  by  other  means.  He  says: 
"  Go  on.  Fight  as  the  men  did."  And  then,  when  we 
show  our  power  and  get  the  people  to  help  us,  he  takes  pro- 
ceedings against  us  in  a  manner  which  would  have  been  dis- 
graceful even  in  the  old  days  of  coercion,  and  which  would 
be  thought  disgraceful  if  it  were  practised  in  Russia. 

Then  there  is  Mr,  Lloyd  George,  who,  if  any  man  has 
done  so,  has  set  us  an  example.  His  whole  career  has  been 
9  series  of  revolts.     •     .     ,     He  has  said  that  if  we  do  not 

OCTOBER,  igo8  315 

get  the  vote  —  mark  these  words  —  we  should  be  justified 
in  adopting  the  methods  which  men  had  to  adopt,  namely, 
in  pulling  down  the  Hyde  Park  railings. 

Then,  as  a  sign  of  the  way  in  which  men  politicians  deal 
with  men's  interests,  we  have  heard  Lord  Morley  saying: 
"  We  are  in  India  in  the  presence  of  a  living  movement, 
and  a  movement  for  what?  For  objects  which  we  ourselves 
have  taught  them  to  think  are  desirable  objects,  and  unless 
we  can  somehow  reconcile  order  with  satisfaction  of  those 
ideas  and  aspirations,  the  fault  will  not  be  theirs;  it  will  be 
ours  —  it  will  mark  the  breakdown  of  British  statesman- 
ship." Apply  those  words  to  our  case.  Remember  that  we 
are  demanding  of  Liberal  statesmen  that  which  for  us 
IS  the  greatest  boon  and  the  most  essential  right.  Remem- 
ber that  we  are  asking  for  votes,  that  we  are  demanding 
the  franchise,  and  if  the  present  Government  cannot  recon- 
cile order  with  our  demand  for  the  vote  without  delay,  it 
will  mark  the  breakdown  of  their  statesmanship.  Yes,  their 
statesmanship  has  broken  down  already.  They  are  dis- 
graced. It  is  only  in  this  Court  that  they  have  the  smallest 
hope  of  getting  bolstered  up. 

Turning  finally  from  the  Magistrate  to  the  great 
world  of  public  opinion  outside,  she  finished  on  a 
defiant  note,  caring  nothing  whether  the  abuse  which 
she  had  heaped  upon  his  petty  court  and  its  unworthy 
procedure  should  cause  him  to  increase  her  sentence 
ten  or  even  a  hundred  fold.  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  sat 
with  brows  knit  and  an  angry  flush  on  his  face,  and 
the  whole  court  was  wrought  up  to  the  most  intense 
excitement.  But  now  it  was  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  turn 
to  speak  and  her  clear  even  tones  and  absolute  calm 
of  manner  created  if  possible  an  even  deeper  impres- 

Sir,  I  want  to  endorse  what  my  daughter  has  said,  that 
in  my  opinion  we  are  proceeded  against  in  this  Court  by 


malice  on  the  part  of  the  Government.  [She  began  quietly 
and  firmly.]  I  want  to  protest  as  strongly  as  she  has  done. 
I  want  to  put  before  you  that  the  very  nature  of  your  duties 
in  this  Court  —  although  I  wish  to  say  nothing  disrespect- 
ful to  you  —  render  you  unfitted  to  deal  with  a  question 
which  is  a  political  question,  as  a  body  of  jurymen  could  do. 
We  are  not  women  who  would  come  into  this  court  as 
ordinary  law-breakers. 

Mrs.  Drummond  here  is  a  woman  of  very  great  public 
spirit;  she  is  an  admirable  wife  and  mother;  she  has  very 
great  business  ability,  and,  although  a  married  woman,  she 
has  maintained  herself  for  many  years,  and  has  acquired 
for  herself  the  admiration  and  respect  of  all  the  people  with 
whom  she  has  had  business  relations.  I  do  not  think  I 
need  speak  about  my  daughter.  Her  abilities  and  earnest- 
ness of  purpose  are  very  well  known  to  you.  They  are 
young  women.  I  am  not,  Sir.  You  and  I  are  older,  and 
have  both  had  very  great  and  very  wide  experience  of  life 
under  different  conditions.  Before  you  decide  what  is  to 
be  done  with  us,  I  should  like  you  to  hear  from  me  a  state- 
ment of  what  has  brought  me  into  this  dock  this  morning. 

I  was  brought  up  by  a  father  who  taught  me  that  his 
children,  boys  and  girls  alike,  had  a  duty  towards  their  coun- 
try; they  must  be  good  citizens.  I  married  a  man,  whose 
wife  I  was,  but  also  his  comrade  in  all  his  public  life.  He 
was,  as  you  know,  a  distinguished  member  of  your  own 
profession,  but  he  felt  it  his  duty,  in  addition,  to  do  political 
work,  to  interest  himself  in  the  welfare  of  his  fellow  coun- 
trymen and  countrywomen.  Throughout  the  whole  of  my 
marriage  I  was  associated  with  him  in  his  public  work.  In 
addition  to  that,  as  soon  as  my  children  were  of  an  age  to 
permit  me  to  leave  them,  I  took  to  public  duties.  I  was 
for  many  years  a  Guardian  of  the  Poor.  For  many  years 
I  was  a  member  of  the  School  Board,  and  when  that  was 
abolished  I  was  elected  to  the  Educational  Committee.  My 
experience  in  doing  that  work  brought  me  in  contact  with 
many  of  my  own  sex,  who,  in  my  opinion,  found  themselvC9 

OCTOBER,  igo8  317 

in  deplorable  positions  because  of  the  state  of  the  English 
law  as  it  affects  women.  You  in  this  court  must  have  had 
experience  of  women  who  would  never  have  come  here  if 
married  women  were  afforded  by  law  that  claim  for  main- 
tenance by  their  husbands  which  I  think  in  justice  should 
be  given  them  when  they  give  up  their  economic  inde- 
pendence and  are  unable  to  earn  a  subsistence  for  themselves. 
You  know  how  inadequate  are  the  marriage  laws  to  women. 
You  must  know,  Sir,  as  I  have  found  out  in  my  experience 
of  public  life,  how  abominable,  atrocious,  and  unjust  are 
the  divorce  laws  as  they  affect  women.  You  know  very 
well  that  the  married  woman  has  no  legal  right  to  the 
guardianship  of  her  children.  Then,  too,  the  illegitimacy 
laws ;  you  know  that  a  woman  sometimes  commits  the  dread- 
ful crime  of  infanticide,  while  her  partner,  the  man,  who 
should  share  her  punishment,  gets  off  scot  free. 

Ever  since  my  girlhood,  a  period  of  about  thirty  years,  I 
have  belonged  to  organisations  to  secure  for  women  that 
political  power  which  I  have  felt  essential  to  bringing  about 
those  reforms  which  women  need.  We  have  tried  to  be 
what  you  call  womanly,  we  have  tried  to  use  "  feminine  in- 
fluence," and  we  have  seen  that  it  is  of  no  use.  Men  who 
have  been  impatient  have  invariably  got  reforms. 

I  have  seen  that  men  are  encouraged  by  law  to  take  ad- 
vantage of  the  helplessness  of  women.  Many  women  have 
thought  as  I  have  and  for  many,  many  years  have  tried  by 
that  influence  of  which  we  have  so  often  been  reminded  to 
alter  these  laws,  but  have  found  that  that  influence  counts 
for  nothing.  When  we  went  to  the  House  of  Commons 
we  used  to  be  told,  when  we  were  persistent,  that  Members 
of  Parliament  were  not  responsible  to  women,  they  were 
responsible  only  to  voters,  and  that  their  time  was  too  fully 
occupied  to  reform  those  laws,  although  they  agreed  that 
they  needed  reforming. 

We  women  have  presented  larger  petitions  in  support  of 
our  enfranchisement  than  were  ever  presented  for  any  other 
jeform,  we  have  succeeded  in  holding  greater  public  meet- 


ings  than  men  have  ever  held  for  any  reform,  in  spite  of 
the  difficulty  which  women  have  in  throwing  off  their  natu- 
ral diffidence,  that  desire  to  escape  publicity  which  we  have 
inherited  from  generations  of  our  foremothers ;  we  have 
broken  through  that.  We  have  faced  hostile  mobs  at  street 
corners,  because  we  were  told  that  we  could  not  have  that 
representation  for  our  taxes  which  men  have  won  unless  we 
converted  the  whole  of  the  country  to  our  side.  Because 
we  have  done  this,  we  have  been  misrepresented,  we  have 
been  ridiculed,  we  have  had  contempt  poured  upon  us,  and 
the  ignorant  mob  incited  to  offer  us  violence,  which  we  have 
faced  unarmed  and  unprotected  by  the  safeguards  which 
Cabinet  Ministers  have. 

I  am  here  to  take  upon  myself  now.  Sir,  as  I  wish  the 
Prosecution  had  put  upon  me,  the  full  responsibility  for 
this  agitation  in  its  present  phase.  I  want  to  address  you 
as  a  woman  who  has  performed  the  duties  of  a  woman, 
and,  in  addition,  has  performed  the  duties  which  ordinary 
men  have  to  perform,  by  earning  a  living  for  her  children, 
and  educating  them. 

I  want  to  make  you  realise  that  it  is  a  point  of  honour 
that  if  you  decide  —  as  I  hope  you  will  not  decide  —  to 
bind  us  over,  that  we  shall  not  sign  any  undertaking,  as 
the  Member  of  Parliament  did  who  was  before  you  yester- 
day. Perhaps  his  reason  for  signing  that  undertaking  may 
have  been  that  the  Prime  Minister  had  given  some  assurance 
to  the  people  he  claimed  to  represent  that  something  should 
be  done  for  them.  We  have  had  no  such  assurance.  So, 
Sir,  if  you  decide  against  us  to-day,  to  prison  we  must  go, 
because  we  feel  that  we  should  be  going  back  to  the  hope- 
less condition  this  movement  was  in  three  years  ago  if  we 
consented  to  be  bound  over  to  keep  the  peace  which  we  have 
never  broken.  If  you  decide  to  bind  us  over,  although  the 
Government  have  admitted  that  wt  are  political  offenders, 
we  shall  be  treated  as  pickpockets  and  drunkards  and  I  want 
you,  if  you  can,  as  a  man,  to  realise  what  that  means  to 


■I  s 


OCTOBER,  igo8  319 

women  like  us.  We  are  driven  to  do  this,  we  are  deter- 
mined to  go  on  with  this  agitation,  because  we  feel  in  honour 
bound.  Just  as  it  was  the  duty  of  your  forefathers,  it  is 
our  duty  to  make  this  world  a  better  place  for  women  than 
it  is  to-day. 

Now,  Sir,  we  have  not  wished  to  waste  your  time  in  any 
way;  we  have  wished  to  make  you  realise  that  there  is  an- 
other side  to  the  case  than  that  put  before  you  by  the 
Prosecution.  We  want  you  to  use  your  power  —  I  do  not 
know  what  value  there  is  in  the  legal  claims  that  have  been 
put  before  you  as  to  your  power  to  decide  this  case  —  but 
we  want  you,  Sir,  if  you  will,  to  send  us  to  be  tried  in  some 
place  more  suitable  for  the  trial  of  political  offenders  than 
an  ordinary  police  court.  You  must  realise  how  futile  it 
is  to  attempt  to  settle  this  question  by  binding  us  over  to 
keep  the  peace.  You  have  tried  it;  it  has  failed.  Others 
have  tried  to  do  it,  and  have  failed.  If  you  had  power  to 
send  us. to  prison,  not  for  six  months,  but  for  six  years, 
for  sixteen  years,  or  for  the  whole  of  our  lives,  the  Govern- 
ment must  not  think  that  they  could  stop  this  agitation.  It 
would  go  on. 

Lastly,  I  want  to  draw  your  attention  to  the  self-restraint 
which  was  shown  by  our  followers  on  the  night  of  the  13th, 
after  we  had  been  arrested.  It  only  shows  that  our  in- 
fluence over  them  is  very  great,  because  I  think  if  they  had 
yielded  to  their  natural  impulses,  there  might  have  been  a 
breach  of  the  peace.  They  were  very  indignant,  but  our 
words  have  always  been,  be  patient,  exercise  self-restraint, 
show  our  so-called  superiors  that  the  criticism  of  women 
being  hysterical  is  not  true;  use  no  violence,  offer  your- 
selves to  the  violence  of  others.  We  are  going  to  win. 
Our  women  have  taken  that  advice;  if  we  are  in  prison 
they  will  continue  to  take  that  advice. 

Well,  Sir,  that  is  all  I  have  to  say  to  you.  We  are  here, 
not  because  we  are  law-breakers;  we  are  here  in  our  efforts 
to  become  law-makers. 


The  angry  red  had  faded  from  Mr.  Curtis  Ben- 
nett's face,  and  whilst  Mrs.  Pankhurst  was  speaking 
he  kept  his  hand  up  to  it,  and  at  one  point  we  saw 
it  quiver  and  for  a  moment  he  hid  his  eyes.  Some 
of  the  big  burly  policemen  whom  we  knew  so  well 
and  who,  except  in  the  "  raids,"  when  they  were 
obliged  to  do  their  duty,  were  always  so  kind  and 
jovial  towards  us,  were  openly  in  tears.  Then  Mrs. 
Drummond,  looking  paler  and  more  serious  than  is 
her  wont,  rose  up  to  speak  in  her  turn.  Her  voice 
was  a  few  notes  thinner  and  higher  pitched  and  like 
her  words,  it  seemed  to  be  stripped  of  all  emotion 
and  to  be  instinct  with  the  clearest  and  most  logical 
commonsense.  Not  only  what  she  said,  but  her 
whole  personality  was  so  honest,  sincere  and  un- 
affected that  she  seemed  to  add  the  one  thing  lack- 
ing to  the  completeness  of  that  presentment  of  the 
great  unanswerable  case  for  Woman's  Suffrage. 
Her  concluding  words  were  an  assurance  that  the 
agitation,  which  was  spreading  and  growing  all  over 
the  country,  would  go  on  as  before.  "  I  can  speak 
on  good  authority,"  she  said,  **  for  we  have  left 
everything  in  working  order  and  we  shall  find  the 
movement  stronger  than  when  we  left  it  because  the 
action  which  the  Government  have  taken  has  fired 
the  bosoms  of  women,  who  are  determined  to  take 
up  the  flag  that  we  have  had  to  lay  down  to-day." 

When  Mrs.  Drummond  had  finished,  Mr.  Curtis 
Bennett  began  speaking  quite  cheerfully  and  as 
though  the  whole  affair  were  an  amusing  discussion 
between  friends  and  had  no  unpleasant  side  to  it. 
During  the  first  part  of  his  speech  he  reviewed  the 
arguments  on  both  sides  of  the  case,  and  as  he  re- 
ferred meanwhile  to  the  pages  on  which  he  had  taken 

—        I 

OCTOBER,  igo8  321 

his  notes  he  so  frequently  smiled  as  though  they  re- 
called amusing  and  rather  pleasant  memories  to  him, 
that  many  people  made  up  their  minds  that  he  was 
either  about  to  state  a  case  for  a  higher  court,  as  the 
defendants  wished,  or  to  discharge  them  altogether. 
All  at  once,  however,  his  tone  changed  and  he  be- 
gan to  speak  hurriedly,  with  lowered  voice  and  in- 
creased severity  of  manner,  and  went  on  to  say  that 
there  could  be  no  doubt  that  it  was  for  that  court 
and  that  court  alone  to  deal  with  the  offence  for 
which  the  defendants  had  been  summoned;  and  that 
there  could  be  no  doubt  but  that  the  handbill  which 
the  defendants  circulated  was  liable  to  cause  some- 
thing to  occur  which  might  and  probably  would,  end 
in  a  breach  of  the  peace.  The  Chief  Commissioner 
of  Police  was  bound  to  keep  Parliament  Square  and 
the  vicinity  free  and  open,  and  the  Commissioner  of 
Police  had  felt  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  do  that 
if  crowds  assembled  together  in  order  to  help  and  to 
see  the  women  "  rush  *'  the  House  of  Commons. 
Therefore  each  of  the  two  older  defendants  would 
be  bound  over  in  their  own  recognisances  of  £100, 
and,  they  must  find  two  sureties  in  £50  each  to  keep 
the  peace  for  twelve  months,  or  in  default  must 
undergo  three  months'  imprisonment.  In  the  case 
of  the  younger  defendant,  her  own  recognisances 
would  be  £50,  with  two  sureties  of  £25  each,  the  al- 
ternative being  ten  weeks'  imprisonment* . 



The  Trial  of  Mrs.  Baines.    The  Mutiny  in  Hollo- 
way.    The  Taking-down  of  the  Grille. 

Mrs.  Drummond  was  right,  for  though  she  and 
her  companions  had  left  a  great  blank  in  the  work 
of  the  Union,  as  she  had  predicted  at  the  dock  at 
Bow  Street,  other  women  eagerly  volunteered  to 
raise  up  the  flag  that  they  had  been  compelled  to  lay 
down.  In  addition  to  the  newcomers,  every  mem- 
ber of  the  staff  cheerfully  undertook  some  extra  task, 
and  the  movement  grew  like  a  living  flame.  The 
office  at  Clement's  Inn  was  indeed  fortunate  in  its 
abundance  of  willing  and  able  workers.  Beside 
Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  and  her  husband,  and 
charming  Mrs.  Tuke,  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  co-secretary, 
there  were  a  host  of  others,  amongst  them  dignified, 
business-like  Miss  Kerr,  with  her  rosy  face  and 
pretty  white  hair,  thoughtful;  reliable  Miss  Ham- 
bling,  Mrs.  Drummond's  secretary,  and  Mrs.  San- 
ders, who,  though  financial  secretary,  was  now  find- 
ing time  to  keep  a  list  of  Cabinet  Minister's  engage- 
ments for  us.  There  was  also  Jessie,  the  London 
organiser,  earnest  and  serious  like  all  the  Kenneys, 
who,  showing  a  grasp  of  the  political  situation  and 
an  organising  capacity  indeed  remarkable  in  a  girl 
of  twenty-two,  marshalled  the  force  of  women  to 


OCTOBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     323 

ask  of  members  of  the  Government  those  constant 

The  very  greatest  difficulty  was  now  experienced 
in  getting  into  Cabinet  Ministers'  meetings,  for 
women  were  now  almost  entirely  excluded.  The  ex- 
pedient of  issuing  a  limited  number  of  special 
women's  tickets,  the  recipients  of  which  were  obliged 
to  sign  both  name  and  address  to  a  pledge  neither  to 
disturb  the  meeting  nor  to  transfer  the  ticket,  was 
first  resorted  to  for  Mr.  Haldane's  meeting  at  Shef- 
field, on  November  20th,  1907.  The  practice  had 
now  become  general  and  in  some  cases  the  women's 
tickets  had  also  to  be  countersigned  by  a  Liberal  of- 
ficial to  whom  the  applicants  were  personally  known. 
But  in  spite  of  such  precautions  the  Suffragettes  fre- 
quently still  succeeded  in  getting  into  the  meetings 
and  that  without  having  given  any  promise,  and 
when  they  could  not  get  inside,  they  invariably  raised 
a  protest  in  the  street. 

When  Cabinet  Ministers,  cast  as  they  were  in  un- 
heroic  mould,  discarded,  to  a  large  extent,  the  cus- 
tom of  delivering  their  pronouncements  to  great 
public  gatherings  where  all  might  come,  and  instead 
frequently  made  their  weighty  utterances  at  bazaars, 
private  or  semi-private  banquets  and  receptions  and 
meetings  of  a  few  tried  and  trusted  friends,  the  Suf- 
fragettes were  always  there  even  though  the  world 
and  Mrs.  Grundy  might  be  shocked.  On  November 
5th,  for  instance,  a  well-known  Liberal  hostess,  Mrs. 
Godfrey  Benson,  gave  a  reception  in  honour  of  the 
Prime  Minister.  As  they  stood  together-at  the  head 
of  the  stairs  receiving  the  guests,  there  came  amongst 
the  ladies  and  gentlemen  in  evening  dress,  streaming 
upward  towards  them,  one  strikingly  tall  and  hand- 


some  lady  in  white  satin  with  abundant  dark  hair, 
who  said  as  she  took  the  Prime  Minister  by  the 
hand,  "  Can  I  do  anything  to  persuade  you  to  give 
votes  to  women?  "  Then,  still  holding  his  hand  in 
hers,  she  proceeded  to  read  out  to  him  some  clauses 
of  Magna  Charta,  explaining  that  these  had  been 
intended  to  apply  to  women  as  well  as  to  men.  Mrs. 
Godfrey  Benson  did  not  for  some  moments  notice 
Mr.  Asquith's  dilemma,  but  as  soon  as  she  did  so, 
she  seized  a  police  whistle  which  was  attached  to  a 
ribbon  at  her  waist,  and,  by  blowing  loudly,  sum- 
moned an  officer  of  the  law,  who  conducted  the  lady 
out  of  the  house. 

Very  great  precautions  were  taken  to  prevent  the 
Suffragettes  approaching  Mr.  Asquith  when  he  vis- 
ited Leeds  to  speak  at  the  Coliseum  on  the  afternoon 
of  Saturday,  October  loth.  From  7  o'clock  in  the 
morning  the  police  had  been  massed  around  the  hall 
and  cordons,  both  of  foot  and  mounted  men  were 
drawn  up  outside  the  railway  station  and  along  the 
road  by  which  the  Prime  Minister  was  to  pass.  But, 
in  spite  of  all  the  force  to  guard  him,  as  Mr.  Asquith 
emerged,  Mrs.  Baines,  a  little  fragile  figure,  with 
face  ashen  white  and  dark,  blazing  eyes,  a  creature 
compounded  of  zeal  and  passion,  threw  herself  in 
front  of  him,  crying,  **  Votes  for  Women,  and  down 
with  tyranny  1  "  and  the  crowd  cheered  her,  though 
she  was  at  once  rudely  hurled  aside  by  the  police. 
Then,  followed  by  thousands  of  people,  she  made 
her  way  to  Cockridge  Street  outside  the  Coliseum, 
where  she  had  already  announced  that  she  would 
hold  an  open  air  meeting  simultaneously  with  that  of 
Mr.  Asquith,  inside.  A  great  crowd  had  gathered 
there  to  hear  her  and  when  she  put  to  them  a  reso- 

OCTOBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908    325 

lution  that  she  and  her  Suffragette  comrades  should 
go  to  the  Coliseum  to  demand  an  interview  with  the 
Prime  Minister,  a  forest  of  hands  shot  up  in  favour. 
Then  declaring,  "If  these  tyrants  won't  come  to  us, 
we  must  go  to  them  and  compel  a  hearing,"  she 
jumped  down  from  the  carriage  which  had  served 
her  as  a  platform,  and,  followed  by  a  number  of 
other  women  and  more  slowly  by  the  crowd  itself, 
she  moved  on  towards  the  Coliseum.  Half  way 
across  the  road  the  police  barred  the  way  and  an 
inspector  asked  her  where  she  was  going.  "  Don't 
be  foolish,  Mrs.  Baines,"  he  said  when  she  told  him, 
but  she  was  not  to  be  deterred  and,*  running  round 
one  of  the  mounted  police,  was  arrested  by  a  con- 
stable on  foot.  The  other  women  still  pressed  for- 
ward and  one  by  one  five  of  them  were  arrested  and 
taken  to  the  Town  Hall,  where  they  were  charged 
with  disorderly  conduct,  whilst  Mr.  Asquith  left  the 
meeting  by  a  back  exit  amid  the  hisses  and  groans 
of  the  crowd. 

On  Monday  morning  the  others  were  each  sent  to 
prison  for  five  days  on  refusing  to  be  bound  over  to 
keep  the  peace,  but  the  case  against  Mrs.  Baines  was 
held  over  until  the  following  Wednesday.  She  was 
then  charged  with  inciting  to  riot  and  unlawful  as- 
sembly. Her  case  was  to  be  held  over  until  the 
Assizes,  in  November,  and  the  opportunity  of  being 
tried  by  Judge  and  Jury  which  Mrs.  Pankhurst, 
Christabel  Pankhurst,  and  Mrs.  Drummond  had 
claimed  in  vain  was  thus  to  fall  to  her  lot.  The 
Grand  Jury,  having  returned  a  True  Bill  against 
Mrs.  Baines,  Mr.  Pethick  Lawrence,  who  was  de- 
fending her,  served  subpoenas  to  give  evidence  at 
the  trial  upon  Mr.  Asquith  and  Mr.  Herbert  Glad- 


stone;  but  the  Cabinet  Ministers  had  no  intention  of 
allowing  themselves  to  be  examined  by  the  Suffra- 
gettes and  to  be  made  into  a  Suffragette  advertise- 
ment a  second  time.  They  applied  to  the  Divisional 
Court  for  a  Rule  to  set  aside  the  subpoenas,  and  did 
not  scruple  to  take  advantage  of  their  position  as 
members  of  the  Government  to  employ  both  the  At- 
torney General,  Sir  William  Robson,  K.  C,  and  the 
Solicitor  General,  Sir  Samuel  Evans,  K.  C,  to  plead 
their  case  in  opposition  to  Mr.  Pethick  Lawrence. 
Though  no  precedent  for  setting  aside  a  subpoena  in 
criminal  cases  could  be  found,  it  was  decided  that 
neither  Mr.  Asquith  nor  Mr.  Gladstone  should  be 
called  upon  to  give  evidence. 

On  Thursday  and  Friday,  November  19th  and 
20th,  the  actual  trial  took  place  in  the  Leeds  Town 
Hall.  Mrs.  Baines  freely  admitted  that  she  had 
used  the  words,  "  if  these  tyrants  will  not  come  to 
us,  we  must  go  to  them  and  compel  a  hearing,"  and 
that  her  intention  had  been  to  get  into  the  meeting 
and  secure  an  interview  with  the  Prime  Minister, 
but  she  protested  that  she  had  had  no  intention  of 
injuring  him  or  anyone  and  when  Mr.  Bairstow,  K. 
C,  the  Counsel  for  the  prosecution,  asked  if  she  had 
carried  any  weapons,  she  replied,  **  Oh,  my  tongue 
IS  weapon  enough !  "  When  asked  to  give  an  account 
of  her  life,  she  said  that  she  was  the  daughter  of  a 
working  man  and  had  begun  to  help  in  earning  the 
family  living  at  eleven  years  of  age.  After  her 
marriage  she  had  continued  to  be  a  wage-earner, 
though  ,she  was  the  mother  of  five  children,  because 
her  husband,  who  was  a  shoemaker,  was  only  able 
to  earn  25  shillings  a  week.  Nevertheless  she  had 
done  much  public  and  social  work  as  she  had  been  a 

OCTOBER   TO  THE  END  OF  1908     327 

Salvation  Army  lieutenant,  an  evangelist  to  a  work- 
ing-men's mission,  a  member  of  the  Stockport  un- 
employed committee  and  committee  for  the  feeding 
of  school  children,  and  a  worker  in  the  temperance 
cause.  When  asked  to  give  some  account  of  her 
speech  to  the  crowd  on  the  loth  of  October,  she  said, 
**  I  wanted  the  men  and  women  of  Leeds  to  under- 
stand why  we  were  there  to  protest  against  Mr. 
Asquith's  refusal  to  give  us  the  vote.  I  said  that 
that  afternoon  Mr.  Asquith  would  be  dealing  with 
the  Licensing  question;  that  this  was  more  a 
woman's  question  than  it  was  a  man's,  because  we 
women  suffered  most  through  intemperance,  and 
that  no  real  temperance  reform  would  ever  be 
brought  about  until  women  had  a  voice  in  the  matter. 
The  unemployed  question  was  also  more  a  woman's 
question  than  it  was  a  man's,  because  it  was  the 
women  who  really  suffered  most.  Mr.  Asquith  had 
never  known  what  it  was,  as  I  have  done,  to  go 
without  food  or  to  go  to  school  hungry.  We 
wanted  to  see  Mr.  Asquith  and  we  wanted  to  know 
when  we  were  going  to  have  access  to  Mr.  Asquith." 
After  the  evidence  on  both  sides  had  been  heard 
Mr.  Lawrence  made  an  eloquent  speech  for  the  de- 
fence, but  it  was  nevertheless  decided  that  Mrs. 
Baines  was  guilty  of  unlawful  assembly.  The  Judge 
then  asked  her  to  enter  into  her  own  recognisances 
to  be  of  good  behaviour,  explaining  that  if  she 
agreed  she  would  merely  be  promising  not  to  use 
violence  or  to  incite  to  violence  in  future.  Mrs. 
Baines  steadfastly  maintained  that  she  had  had  no 
intention  of  using  violence,  but  felt  that  she  could 
not  conscientiously  agree  to  be  bound  over  to  keep 
the   peace.     Mr.   Justice    Pickford   then   said   that 


though  he  was  reluctant  to  do  so,  he  must  pass  sen- 
tence upon  her  and  ordered  that  she  should  be  im- 
prisoned for  six  weeks  in  the  Second  Division.  In 
the  result,  however,  she  was  only  kept  in  prison  for 
three  weeks  because,  though  she  had  gone  free  mean- 
while, the  fortnight  during  which  she  had  awaited 
her  trial  at  the  Assizes  was  counted  as  part  of  her 
sentence,  and  in  addition  she  was  entitled  to  one 
week's  remission  of  sentence  for  good  behaviour. 

Amid  all  the  whirl  of  militancy  that  had  been 
going  on  the  work  of  educative  peaceful  propaganda 
was  never  allowed  to  flag  and  beside  the  hundreds 
of  uncounted  smaller  meetings  a  series  of  great  in- 
door demonstrations  calling  for  votes  for  women 
and  the  release  of  the  prisoners  was  held  in  the 
Free  Trade  Hall,  Manchester,  the  Town  Hall, 
Birmingham,  the  St.  George's  Hall,  Bradford,  the 
Guild  Hall,  Plymouth,  the  Town  Hall,  Hudders- 
field,  the  Town  Hall,  Battersea,  the  Town  Hall, 
Chelsea,  the  King's  Theatre,  Hammersmith,  and  in 
many  other  places,  and  culminated  in  a  second  great 
demonstration  in  the  Albert  Hall  on  October  29th 
at  which  £3,000  was  collected.  Then,  in  declaring 
the  £20,000  campaign  fund  to  be  complete,  Mrs. 
Pethick  Lawrence  appealed  for  it  to  be  carried  on 
to  £50,000,  and  that  the  half  way  house  of  £25,000 
should  be  reached  before  the  founder  of  the  Union 
should  be  released  from  prison. 

Whilst  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  had  been  thus  active,  the 
Women's  Freedom  League  had  startled  London  by 
a  cleverly  organised  and  smartly  executed  demon- 
stration in  the  Ladies'  Gallery  of  the  House  of 
Commons,  on  October  28th.  That  morning  all  the 
world  had   awakened  to   find  that  little   placards, 

OCTOBER  TO  THE  END  OF  igo8     329 

headed  "  A  Proclamation  containing  a  demand  for 
Votes  for  Women,"  had  been  posted  on  every 
hoarding.  At  8:30  in  the  evening,  whilst  Parlia- 
ment was  discussing  the  Licensing  Bill,  and  Mr. 
Remnant,  one  of  the  Conservative  Members,  was 
speaking,  a  woman  in  the  Ladies'  Gallery  suddenly 
thrust  through  the  brass  grille  one  of  these  procla- 
mations with  a  cry  of  "  Votes  for  Women !  "  In- 
stantly Miss  Muriel  Matters  darted  to  the  front  of 
the  Gallery  and  proceeded  to  deliver  a  Suffrage 
speech,  two  attendants  at  once  came  rushing  in, 
tumbling  over  the  ladies'  trains  and  pushing  uncere- 
moniously past  them  in  haste  to  drag  her  from  her 
place,  only  to  find  that  they  could  not  do  so,  for, 
by  means  of  a  padlock  and  chain  around  her  waist, 
she  had  attached  herself  to  the  grille.  Whilst  some 
of  the  men  struggled  to  break  the  chains,  others 
gagged  her  by  holding  their  hands  over  her  mouth, 
but  a  second  woman,  also  chained,  took  up  the  tale 
with  **  we  demand  the  vote,"  and,  after  she  had 
been  stifled  in  the  same  impromptu  and  objectionable 
fashion,  a  third  cried,  "  We  have  remained  behind 
this  insulting  grille  too  long." 

Members  of  Parliament  were  meanwhile  pouring 
into  the  House  to  see  the  show,  and  though  Mr. 
Remnant  spoke  on  without  pausing,  but  little  notice 
was  taken  of  anything  that  he  said.  The  attendants 
in  the  Gallery  now  discovered  that  the  chains  around 
the  women's  waists  had  been  wrapped  in  wool  to 
prevent  their  clanking  and  were  secured  by  strong 
Yale  padlocks,  that,  on  being  snapped  together,  had 
locked  automatically  without  a  key,  and  after  vainly 
dragging  and  pulling  at  the  women  (who,  in  spite 
of  the  gagging,  still  managed  to  articulate  a  word 


or  two  occasionally),  and  after  tugging  again  and 
again  at  both  locks  and  chains,  the  men  came  to  the 
conclusion  that  it  would  be  necessary  to  remove 
bodily  those  parts  of  the  grille  to  which  the  three  dis- 
turbers were  attached.  Then  all  the  women  in  the 
Gallery,  Suffragettes,  Suffragists  and  even  anti- 
Suffragists  were  alike  quickly  bundled  out.  Next 
screwdrivers  were  brought  and  the  attendants  set  to 
work  to  dismember  the  grille,  and  when  this  had 
been  done  the  women  and  the  great  pieces  of 
wrought  brass  work,  to  which  they  were  still  at- 
tached, were  hauled  out  by  the  attendants  and  taken 
to  Committee  Room  15,  where  they  were  kept  until  a 
smith  arrived  to  file  through  the  chains. 

By  this  time  the  House  had  resumed  Its  ordinary, 
humdrum  appearance,  and  the  Members  who  had 
come  in  during  the  disturbance  had  all  drifted  away, 
but,  as  the  Division  bell  rang  and  they  came  troop- 
ing back  to  vote,  a  man  in  the  Strangers'  Gallery 
shouted,  "Why  don't  you  do  justice  to  women?" 
and  was  dragged  out  by  a  number  of  policemen, 
and  within  ten  minutes  afterwards  a  second  man 
shouted,  "Why  don't  you  give  votes  to  women?" 
and  flung  a  shower  of  leaflets  down  amongst  the 

At  the  same  time  several  women  were  attempting 
to  hold  a  meeting  in  the  Lobby.  The  police  flung 
them  outside  but  they  immediately  climbed  up  to 
speak  from  the  pedestal  of  the  Richard  Coeur  de 
Lion  statue,  and  whilst  the  constables  clambered  up 
after  them,  pulled  them  down  and  placed  them  under 
arrest,  other  Suffragettes  made  dash  after  dash  to 
re-enter  the  House.  Crowds  quickly  gathered  and 
the  confusion  grew  and   fourteen  women  and  one 

Mrs.   Pankhurst  in  Prison 

OCTOBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     331 

man  had  been  taken  Into  custody  before  the  people 
were  dispersed. 

Next  morning  the  prisoners  were  brought  up  at 
the  Westminster  Police  Court  before  Mr.  Hop- 
kins. The  first  to  be  charged  was  Mr.  Arnold  Cut- 
ler, the  man  who  had  been  arrested  in  the  fray,  and 
it  was  alleged  that  he  had  protested  against  the  ac- 
tion of  the  police,  crying,  **  Shame  1  Leave  the 
Wom:n  alone!"  and  that  when  dragged  away  he 
had  taken  off  his  belt  and  "  assumed  a  threatening 
attitude."  He  was  fined  25  shillings.  The  women 
were  more  heavily  punished,  being  each  fined  £5, 
and  on  refusing  to  pay  were  sent  to  Holloway  for 
one  month. 

Meanwhile,  both  in  and  out  of  Parliament,  day 
after  day,  and  week  after  week,  Mr.  Herbert  Glad- 
stone was  being  urged  to  extend  to  the  Suffragist 
prisoners,  the  treatment  that  his  own  father  and 
every  Liberal  statesman  had  declared  to  be  due  to 
political  offenders,  and  the  protests  were  rendered  the 
more  pointed  because  at  this  very  time  there  were 
a  number  of  men  political  prisoners,  serving  sen- 
tences in  Ireland,  who  were  actually  receiving  all 
the  privileges  which  were  being  demanded  on  be- 
half of  the  Suffragettes.  These  men  were  convicted 
of  boycotting  and  cattle  driving.  They  were  al- 
lowed to  provide  their  own  clothing,  furniture, 
food  and  malted  liquor  and  to  have  their  own  med- 
ical attendant  and  medicines  sent  in  to  them  at  any 
time.  They  were  allowed  to  smoke  and  to  have 
books,  newspapers  and  other  means  of  occupation, 
to  carry  on  their  profession,  if  that  were  possible. 
They  were  allowed  to  correspond  freely  with  their 
friends  and  to  receive  visitors  every  day,  and  were 



exempted  from  prison  tasks.  Their  impri/sonment, 
in  fact,  entailed  little  more  than  the  loss  of  Vreedom 
to  come  and  go  as  they  wished.  The  case  W  Mr. 
Farrell,  M.  P.,  who,  whilst  the  Suffragette  lo^aders 
were  in  Holloway  gaol,  was  convicted  of  inciting  to 
cattle  driving,  was  technically  parallel  to  that  of 
Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Christabel  Pankhurst,  and  Mrs. 
Drummond;  but  whilst  both  he  and  they  were  alike 
ordered  to  be  bound  over  to  keep  the  peace  i  nd  to 
find  sureties  for  their  good  behaviour;  on  their  com- 
mon refusal,  he  was  committed  to  prison  in  the  First 
Division,  whilst  they  were  put  in  the  second  class. 

Meanwhile,  news  of  the  prisoners  in  Holloway 
had  gradually  filtered  out  to  us,  and  the  first  messen- 
ger from  them  was  Mrs.  Drummond  herself,  who 
nine  days  after  her  imprisonment  had  begun,  was 
suddenly  and  unexpectedly  released.  She  then  told 
us  that  on  arriving 'in  Holloway,  Mrs.  Pankhurst 
had  at  once  announced  to  the  authorities  that  the 
time  had  come  when  the  Suffragettes  would  no  longer 
submit  to  the  degrading  prison  regulations  which 
had  hitherto  been  enforced  upon  them,  and  that  she 
and  her  comrades  would  begin  by  refusing  either 
to  allow  themselves  to  be  searched  or  to  change  their 
clothes  in  the  general  public  dressing  room.  She 
further  stated  that  for  her  own  part  she  was  deter- 
mined to  speak  with  her  fellow  political  prisoners, 
both  at  exercise,  and  at  any  other  time  when  they 
might  happen  to  be  together,  for  this  was  a  right 
to  which  she  considered  all  political  prisoners  were 
entitled.  Seeing  that  it  would  be  both  difficult  and 
troublesome  to  turn  her  from  her  purpose,  the  Gover- 
nor gave  way  upon  the  first  point,  and  agreed  that 
the  Suffragist  prisoners  should  be  allowed  to  undress 

OCTOBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     333 

privately  in  separate  cells;  but  in  regard  to  any 
other  matters  he  declared  that  the  Home  Secretary 
must  be  communicated  with.  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and 
Christabel,  therefore,  at  once  addressed  petitions  to 
Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone,  claiming  that  as  political 
prisoners  both  they  and  the  other  Suffragettes  should 
be  permitted  to  write  and  receive  letters ;  to  associate 
with  their  fellow  political  prisoners;  to  receive  visits 
from  their  friends;  to  attend  to  business  matters  as 
far  as  possible;  to  have  books  and  newspapers  sent 
in  to  them;  to  wear  their  own  clothing,  and  to  pro- 
vide their  own  food.  Mr.  Gladstone  refused  to 
comply  with  any  of  the  requests,  and  the  prison  rules 
were  enforced  with  all  their  accustomed  vigour,  ex- 
cept that  for  the  first  week  Mrs.  Pankhurst  was  al- 
lowed, without  challenge,  to  speak  to  her  fellow 
prisoners.  On  Sunday,  November  ist,  however,  the 
wardress  suddenly  called  her  out  of  the  ranks, 
sharply  reprimanded  her  for  speaking  and,  when  she 
refused  to  give  a  promise  never  to  do  so  again, 
ordered  her  to  return  to  her  cell.  Hearing  this,  the 
other  Suffragettes  came  running  across  the  yard  and 
clustered  around,  giving  three  cheers  for  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst, whilst  the  wardress  blew  her  whistle  and 
dozens  of  others  appeared  to  drive  the  Suffragettes 

It  happened  that  on  that  same  morning,  she  never 
could  tell  why,  Mrs.  Drummond's  cell  had  not  been 
unlocked  at  the  time  for  exercise,  and  she  had  been 
left  behind  whilst  the  others  had  gone  out  into  the 
yard.  She  was  sitting  wondering  what  had  hap- 
pened, when  she  suddenly  heard  the  sound  of  cheers. 
At  once  she  hastily  dragged  her  plank  bed  to  the 
window  and,  clambering  up,  saw  the  Suffragettes  in 


their  prison  dress,  with  numbers  of  wardresses  after 
them,  running  across  the  yard  in  all  directions. 
Then  they  disappeared  and  all  was  quiet.  When 
next  she  was  let  out  into  the  corridor  and  when  she 
was  taken  to  the  chapel,  she  saw  no  sign  of  her  com- 
rades, and  though  she  asked  the  wardress  for  news 
of  them,  no  answer  was  returned.  It  was  on  the 
same  evening  that  a  sense  of  growing  weakness  that 
had  been  upon  her  since  her  entrance  into  prison, 
overcame  her  and  she  must  have  fainted  suddenly, 
for  she  was  found  by  the  wardress  lying  unconscious 
on  the  floor.  She  was  carried  to  a  hospital  cell  and 
put  to  bed,  and  as  she  begged  for  more  air,  the  outer 
door  was  thrown  open,  and  only  the  gate  with  which 
hospital  cells  are  also  provided,  was  closed.  Soon 
afterwards,  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  who  occupied  the  next 
cell,  passed  along  the  corridor  to  fill  her  water  can 
and  through  the  bars  was  able  to  tell  Mrs.  Drum- 
mond  briefly  what  had  happened  —  that  she  herself 
was  to  remain  under  punishment,  and  to  be  deprived 
of  both  exercise  and  chapel  until  she  would  promise 
not  to  attempt  to  speak  again.  By  the  doctor's 
orders,  Mrs.  Drummond  remained  in  bed  until 
Tuesday,  when  the  Governor  and  the  Matron  came 
to  her  and  told  her  that  the  Home  Secretary  had 
given  orders  for  her  release.  As  soon  as  the  officers 
had  left  her,  she  sprang  up  and  rushed  to  the  gate 
of  her  cell,  calling  out  loudly  to  Mrs.  Pankhurst, 
"  The  Home  Secretary  has  ordered  me  out."  "  I 
am  glad,"  was  the  reply,  as  the  wardress  came  hurry- 
ing back  to  expostulate. 

On  hearing  Mrs.  Drummond's  story  we  at  once 
decided  that  a  demonstration  of  encouragement  to 
our  imprisoned  comrades  and  of  protest  against  their 

OCTOBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     335 

treatment  by  the  authorities,  must  be  held  outside  the 
gaol,  and  on  the  following  Saturday  evening  a  long 
procession  of  women,  headed  by  a  brass  band  and 
a  little  carriage,  in  which  rode  Mrs.  Drummond  and 
those  of  us  who  were  to  speak,  and  a  brake  filled  with 
ex-prisoners  in  prison  dress,  assembled  in  Kingsway 
and  set  off  for  HoUoway  gaol.  All  along  the  route 
cheering  crowds  gathered,  and  our  procession  grew 
as  we  marched,  and  when  we  reached  HoUoway  all 
the  roads  that  encircle  the  prison  were  densely 
crowded  with  human  beings.  Wc  stopped  outside 
the  main  entrance  to  hold  a  meeting,  but  the  masses 
of  people  were  far  too  great  for  our  voices  to  reach 
them  and  our  horses,  startled  by  the  vast  crowds 
which  pressed  closer  and  closer,  showed  signs  of 
becoming  restive.  Mrs.  Drummond  therefore  led 
off  a  cheer  for  the  Suffragette  prisoners  inside  and 
ithe  crowd  raised  their  voices  with  her  again  and 
again.  Then  we  slowly  encircled  the  prison  three 
times,  alternately  cheering  and  singing  the  Women's 
Marseillaise :  ^ 

Arise!     Though  pain  or  loss  betide, 
Grudge  naught  of  Freedom's  toll, 
For  what  they  loved  the  martyrs  died 
Are  we  of  meaner  soul? 
Are  we  of  meaner  soul? 

Our  comrades  greatly  daring 
Through  prison  bars  have  led  the  way, 
Who  would  not  follow  to  the  fray. 
Their  glorious  struggle  proudly  sharing? 

1  By  Miss  F.  E.  M.  Macaulay. 


To  Freedom's  Cause  till  death 
We  swear  our  fealty, 
March  on!     March  on! 
Face  to  the  dawn, 
The  dawn  of  liberty. 

During  the  ensuing  week  two  batches  of  our 
prisoners  were  released  and  each  one  carried  out  to 
us  further  disquieting  news.  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  who 
was  still  being  punished,  had  been  characterised  by 
the  authorities  as  a  *'  dangerous  criminal,"  and,  be- 
cause she  still  refused  to  pledge  herself  to  perpetual 
silence,  a  wardress  was  constantly  stationed  outside 
her  door  to  prevent  any  attempt  at  communication 
with  her.  It  was  rumoured  also  that  she  was  very 
111  and  this  was  confirmed  by  Mr.  Gladstone  in  re- 
ply to  questions  by  Members  of  Parliament,  but  my 
request,  either  to  be  allowed  to  see  her  for  myself, 
or  to  send  In  her  own  medical  attendant  to  Interview 
her,  was  denied.  Again,  on  the  following  Saturday, 
we  marched  around  the  prison  but  this  time  accom- 
panied by  crowds  even  greater  than  before.  In  the 
meantime,  whilst  many  questions  had  been  put  In 
the  House  by  Members  of  Parliament,  the  Suffra- 
gettes who  had  just  been  released  had  paid  many 
visits  to  the  Stranger's  Lobby  and  eventually  Mr. 
Gladstone  agreed  that  Chrlstabel  and  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst should  be  allowed  to  spend  one  hour  of  each 
day  together.  At  the  same  time  he  refused  to  allow 
Chrlstabel  to  write  a  book  upon  the  Women's  Suf- 
frage question  for  a  firm  of  London  publishers,  to 
be  published  after  her  release,  though  It  was  well 
known  that  Mr,  GInnell  during  his  Imprisonment 

OCTOBER  TO  THE  END  OF  igo8    337 

for  inciting  to  cattle  driving,  had  been  allowed  to 
write  his  book  entitled  Life  and  Liberty. 

On  Saturday,  November  19th,  thirteen  more 
prisoners  were  released  and  we  learnt  that  a  fort- 
night before  there  had  been  another  so-called 
"  mutiny "  in  HoUoway.  Mrs.  Leigh  had  been 
falsely  accused  of  inciting  the  other  Suffragette 
prisoners  to  mutiny,  and  as  a  punishment  had  been 
deprived  of  exercise  and  chapel  for  three  days,  and 
Miss  Wallace-Dunlop  determined  to  prove  her  in- 
nocence. Every  prisoner  has  the  right  to  lay  a 
complaint  before  the  Governor,  but  the  application 
to  see  him  is  supposed  to  be  made  when  the  cell 
doors  are  first  opened  at  six  o'clock  in  the  morning, 
and  he  afterwards  visits  the  prisoner  when  and 
where  he  may  think  fit  and  usually  in  her  own  cell. 
It  was  necessary  for  Miss  Wallace-Dunlop's  purpose 
that  he  should  come  to  her  when  all  her  fellow 
prisoners  were  together  in  order  that  each  might 
give  her  testimony.  She  accordingly  chose  to  make 
her  application  during  the  associated  labour  which 
Dr.  Mary  Gordon,  the  new  lady  Inspector,  had  in- 
stituted that  summer.  So  at  half  past  three  that 
afternoon  when  the  Suffragettes  with  a  space  of  a 
yard  between  each  other  had  seated  themselves  at  a 
number  of  deal  tables  in  one  of  the  corridors  and 
had  settled  down  to  make  shirts  and  mail  bags,  she 
asked  the  wardress  in  charge  to  send  for  the 

By  5  -SO*  when  the  time  for  associated  labour  was 

at  an  end,  the  Governor  had  sent  no  reply  and  the 

wardress  gave  the  order,   **  Return  to  your  cells," 

but  Miss  Wallace-Dunlop  gave  a  counter  command : 


"  Do  not  return  to  your  cells."  There  had  been  no 
previous  understanding  between  them,  but  the  women 
sat  firm,  and  when  the  order  to  leave  was  repeated 
they  still  did  not  move,  leaving  it  to  their  leader  to 
again  explain  that  they  would  remain  where  they 
were  until  the  Governor  or  his  deputy  should  arrive. 
The  wardress  then  sharply  blew  her  whistle,  where- 
upon crowds  of  tall  wardresses  appeared  from  all  di- 
rections and  lined  the  corridor  in  long  rows.  Then 
Miss  Wallace-Dunlop  rose.  Those  of  us  who  know 
her  can  well  imagine  the  scene.  She  has  one  of  those 
faces  that,  when  we  recall  them  to  our  minds,  we  al- 
ways see  as  though  lit  up,  turned  towards  a  full  light 
that  streams  upon  them,  and  at  the  same  time  illu- 
mined from  within.  The  spirit  that  glows  within 
them  is  intensely  vibrant  with  sympathy  for  others, 
yet  though  the  sadness  of  others'  sorrow  finds  instant 
reflection  in  them  and  we  know  that  their  hearts 
throb  with  the  bitter  pain  of  other  hearts,  a  quiet 
gaiety  is  habitual  to  them  and  we  think  of  them  al- 
ways as  brightly  and  serenely  happy;  it  seems  not 
possible  for  a  shadow  to  fall  across  the  clear  purity 
of  their  minds.  So  we  can  plainly  picture  for  our- 
selves her  tall,  slight,  erect  figure  standing  forth,  and 
hear  her  gentle  light-toned  voice  say  to  the  women: 
"  Set  your  backs  against  the  wall  and  all  link  arms." 
Instantly  they  obeyed  and  stood  where  she  had  told 
them,  looking  firm  and  immovable  though  the  offi- 
cials outnumbered  them  by  more  than  ten  to  one. 
Then  there  was  silence,  and  the  wardresses  made  no 
move.  At  last  steps  were  heard  coming  from  a  long 
distance  —  one  always  hears  them  away  off  in  Hollo- 
way.  Gradually  they^  came  nearer  and  nearer  until 
the  Governor  arrived.    Then  the  Suffragette  leader 

OCTOBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     339 

stepped  forward.  "  We  have  sent  for  you,"  she 
said  gravely,  "  because  we  have  a  statement  to  make. 
One  of  our  comrades  has  been  unjustly  punished." 
**  You  know  I  am  always  willing  to  listen  to  your 
statements,"  the  Governor  replied,  "  but  I  can  do 
nothing  to-night  unless  you  return  to  your  cells." 
Then,  on  his  proniising  to  enquire  into  the  whole 
matter.  Miss  Wallace-Dunlop  was  satisfied  and  she 
and  her  comrades  quietly  obeyed. 

But,  when  the  Governor  came  round  the  cells  next 
morning,  he  ordered  that  every  Suffragette  who  had 
been  present  should  appear  before  the  visiting  mag- 
istrates to  answer  to  a  charge  of  mutiny,  and  on  the 
following  day,  they  were  each  sentenced  to  from 
three  to  five  days'  solitary  confinement  and  the  asso- 
ciated labour,  about  which  there  had  always  been 
more  labour  than  association,  as  the  prisoners  were 
forbidden  to  communicate,  was  abandoned  altogether. 
Mrs.  Leigh  was  still  deprived  both  of  Chapel  and 
exercise,  and  the  others  who  had  caught  an  occa- 
sional glimpse  of  her,  as  she  passed  to  fill  her  water 
can,  stated  that  she  appeared  to  be  suffering  very 
greatly  from  this  close  solitary  confinement. 

.  Again  on  the  next  Saturday  we  marched  to  Hollo- 
way,  carrying  before  us  a  white  banner  inscribed 
with  the  text  of  the  Women's  Enfranchisement  Bill. 
There  we  found  the  police  on  horse  and  foot  mus- 
tered against  us  a  thousand  strong,  barring  the  near- 
est approaches  to  the  prison  so  that,  although  we 
again  circled  it,  it  was  at  so  great  a  distance  that  only 
once,  through  a  gap  in  the  surrounding  buildings, 
could  we  see  its  walls,  and  we  doubted  whether  our 
voices,  loud  and  numerous  as  they  were,  could  be 
heard  by  the  prisoners  inside. 


Mrs.  Birrell  at  City  Temple.  Mr.  Lloyd  Georgb 
AT  Albert  Hall.  Release  of  Mrs.  Pankhurst, 
Christabel  Pankhurst,  and  Mrs.  Leigh. 

During  the  autumn  whilst  Mr.  Birrell  had  been 
visiting  his  constituency  of  North  Bristol,  Annie 
Kenney,  the  centre  of  whose  flourishing  West  of 
England  organising  district,  was  in  that  town,  had 
prevailed  upon  him  to  receive  a  women's  deputation. 
In  reply  to  this  deputation  Mr.  Birrell  had  said  that 
the  Government  did  not  intend  to  carry  the  Women's 
Enfranchisement  Bill  during  that  session;  that  many 
members  of  the  Cabinet  were  strongly  opposed  to 
the  idea  of  giving  the  women  the  vote  on  any  terms ; 
that,  in  his  opinion,  the  matter  was  not  ripe  for  set- 
tlement, and  also  that  he  would  not  endanger  his 
position  in  the  Cabinet  by  pressing  the  question  for- 
ward. He  added  that  he  was  in  favour  of  the  en- 
franchisement of  rate-paying  widows  and  spinsters 
on  the  Municipal  basis,  but  that  he  disapproved  of 
qualified  married  women  voting  and  that  he  would 
not  support  a  measure  to  give  adult  Suffrage  to 
women.  This  last  point  was  exceedingly  interesting. 
It  clearly  demonstrated  the  cynical  character  of  the 
suggestion,  made  by  Mr.  Lloyd  George  and  others, 
that  to  give  votes  to  women  on  the  same  terms  as 
men  was  not  sufficiently  democratic  to  be  supported 


NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     341 

by  a  Liberal  Government,  for  here  was  a  Liberal 
Cabinet  Minister  declaring  opposition  to  any  wider 

On  November  1 2th,  Mr.  Birrell  spoke  at  the  City 
Temple,  the  church  of  Mr.  R.  J.  Campbell,  the  well- 
known  initiator  of  the  so-called  **  New  Theology." 
It  was  well  known  that  the  Suffragettes  were  present 
to  heckle  him,  and  the  chairman  tried  to  deter  them 
by  stating  that  Mr.  Birrell  had  promised  to  give  his 
**  influential  support  to  any  measure  giving  a  liberal 
extension  of  the  franchise  to  women."  The  Suf- 
fragettes considered  that  this  meant  absolutely  noth- 
ing at  all,  and  continued  to  protest  as  earnestly  as 
they  could.  The  result  was  a  terrible  scene  of  vio- 
lence, in  which  large  numbers  of  women  were  flung 
out  of  the  church  and  dragged  down  the  steps.  The 
W.  S.  P.  U.  afterwards  wrote  to  Mr.  Birrell  to  ask 
what  his  statement  had  really  meant.  His  answer, 
given  through  his  Secretary,  was  simply  and  solely 
that  he  had  "  nothing  to  add  to  the  reply  which  he 
gave  recently  to  a  deputation  introduced  by  Miss 

Meanwhile,  though  the  militant  tactics  were  being 
condemned  as  vigorously  as  ever,  sympathy  for  the 
militants  and  a  desire  for  the  franchise  were  rapidly 
spreading  amongst  women  of  all  shades  of  opinion. 
The  Women's  Conservative  and  Unionist  Franchise 
Society  was  formed  about  this  time,  and  the  Mar- 
gate and  the  Wallasey  Women's  Liberal  Associations 
passed  Resolutions  dissolving  themselves  until  women 
were  enfranchised,  whilst  the  Secretaries  and  Com- 
mittee members  of  other  associations  resigned  their 
posts  on  the  same  ground. 

At  this  point  Mr.  Lloyd  George  wrote  to  the  ex- 


ccutive  of  the  Women's  Liberal  Federation  offering 
to  speak  for  them  on  Women's  Suffrage  in  the  Albert 
Hall.  They  agreed  to  his  suggestion  and  it  was 
announced  that  he  would  make  a  Government  pro- 
nouncement. On  this  ground  the  organisers  of  the 
meeting  approached  the  Committee  of  the  W.  S. 
P.  U.,  asking  that  the  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer 
should  not  be  heckled,  but  we  replied  that  unless  we 
had  an  assurance  that  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  pro- 
nouncement was  to  contain  a  Government  promise  to 
act,  we  could  not  comply  with  this  request.  As  re- 
quests that  we  would  alter  our  decision  continued  to 
pour  in,  Mrs.  Tuke,  our  Honorary  Secretary,  wrote 
to  Mr.  Lloyd  George  on  November  30th,  stating 
that  we  would  gladly  ask  our  women  not  to  interrupt 
him  if  he  could  assure  us  that  the  Government  were 
really  prepared  to  do  something  for  the  Suffrage 
Cause,  and  that,  if  he  wished,  we  would  pledge  our- 
selves not  to  divulge  his  reply  until  after  his  speech 
had  been  delivered.  Mr.  George's  only  answer  was 
a  curt  note  stating  that  anything  that  he  had  to  say 
in  regard  to  the  Government's  attitude  would  be  said 
in  the  course  of  his  speech  i^i  the  Albert  Hall. 

There  was  no  hint  in  the  letter  of  any  great 
Government  pronouncement,  but  indeed  everyone 
knew,  the  leaders  of  the  Liberal  women  themselves 
knew,  and  in  fact  had  admitted  to  us,  that  Mr. 
Lloyd  George  had  nothing  of  importance  to  say. 
His  speech  was  merely  intended  to  pacify  those 
women  who  were  beginning  to  falter  in  their  loyalty 
to  the  Liberal  Party  and  to  take  the  wind  as  far  as 
possible  out  of  the  Suffragette  sails.  Mr.  Lloyd 
George  was  as  much  responsible  as  any  of  his  col- 
leagues for  the  present  warfare.     His  own  personal 

NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     343 

record  in  regard  to  the  women's  movement  was  not 
a  good  one.  Therefore  there  was  absolutely  no 
reason  for  modifying,  in  his  favour,  the  rule  that 
all  Cabinet  Ministers  must  be  heckled.  Indeed  his 
coming  forward  at  this  juncture  to  curry  favour  by 
offering  empty  platitudes  was  felt  to  be  in  the  nature 
of  adding  insult  to  injury.  When,  on  Saturday,  De- 
cember 5th,  the  day  of  the  Liberal  Women's  meeting 
arrived,  the  Albert  Hall  was  girt  by  an  army  of 
mounted  police.  There  was  a  general  feeling  of 
uneasy  expectancy  and  everyone  seemed  suspicious  of 
what  his  or  her  neighbour  might  be  going  to  do. 
Bands  of  men  stewards,  known  by  their  yellow 
badges,  were  massed  in  the  corridors  and  stationed 
in  groups  at  the  end  of  every  row  of  seats.  Never- 
theless, in  spite  of  the  fact  that  these  men  had  been 
obviously  engaged  for  the  forcible  ejection  of  inter- 
rupters, in  order  to  protect  the  promoters  of  the 
meeting  from  subsequent  charges  of  brutality,  "  Of- 
ficials' Orders  of  the  Day  "  were  prominently  dis- 
played, in  which  the  stewards  were  counselled  to  "  do 
no  violence  to  any  person,"  and  the  members  of  the 
Women's  Liberal  Federation  were  asked,  whatever 
happened,  to  **  act  as  though  they  were  soldiers, 
silent  and  steady  under  fire." 

Lady  M'Laren,  who  presided  over  the  meeting, 
rose  to  speak  with  obvious  uneasiness,  which  was  in- 
creased, when  she  suddenly  realised  that  all  the 
women  in  the  front  row  of  the  arena,  who  had  sud- 
denly removed  their  cloaks,  were  clothed  as  second 
division  prisoners  in  dresses  of  green  serge,  blue  and 
white  check  aprons  and  white  caps,  all  stamped  with 
the  broad  arrow.  For  sometime,  however,  all  was 
quiet  and  it  was  not  until  Mr.  Lloyd  George  had 


been  speaking  for  some  moments,  and  was  proceed- 
ing to  give  various  reasons  why  women  were  entitled 
to  the  franchise,  that  he  was  interrupted  by  a  tall, 
graceful  woman  in  one  of  the  boxes.  She  declared 
that  all  present  were  agreed  as  to  the  justice  of  the 
cause  and  that  a  Government  pledge  to  take  action 
was  alone  required.  The  speaker  was  Helen  Og- 
ston,  B.Sc,  of  St.  Andrew's  University,  and  the 
daughter  of  Professor  Ogston  of  Aberdeen.  Her 
words  were  no  sooner  uttered  than  a  man  in  the  next 
box  leapt  over  the  barrier  and  struck  her  a  blow  in 
the  chest,  whilst  several  stewards  sprang  upon  her 
from  behind.  She  protested  that  she  was  prepared 
to  leave  the  hall  at  once,  but  the  men  did  not  heed 
her  and  continued  to  pummel  her  in  the  most  savage 
way.  At  this  the  audience  were  astonished  to  see 
her  draw  a  whip  from  under  her  cloak  and  strike  at 
one  of  her  assailants.  Immediately  afterwards  she 
was  knocked  down  and  disappeared.^ 

Now  the  whole  hall  was  in  uproar.  Mr.  Lloyd 
George  strove  to  continue,  weakly  protesting  that  he 
was  in  favour  of  Women's  Suffrage,  but,  **  Then 
why  don't  you  do  something?"  and  *' Deeds  not 
words!  Deeds  not  words!  "  came  a  clear  bell-like 
cry.  Again  he  went  on  to  urge  that  he  really  was 
in  favour,  but  was  met  by,  **  Why  don't  you  resign 
from  a  Cabinet  that  is  hostile  to  women?"  **  Our 
women  are  in  prison."     *'  You  run  with  the  hare  and 

1  Miss  Ogston  acted  upon  her  own  initiative  in  using  the  dog 
whip,  and  her  intention  was  not  known  to  the  committee  of  the 
W.  S.  P.  U.  who  felt,  however,  that  they  could  not  condemn  her 
for  seeking  to  protect  herself.  She  employed  the  whip  as  a  pro- 
test, not  against  ejection,  but  against  the  unnecessary  violence 
to  which  she  herself  and  other  women  had  been  subjected. 

NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  .1908     345 

hunt  with  hounds."  Only  one  woman  spoke  at  one 
time  and  each  one  merely  fired  a  short,  sharp,  perti- 
nent interjection;  but  there  were  many  of  them,  and, 
more  than  that,  the  raising  of  each  woman's  voice 
was  the  signal  for  a  wild  outburst  of  fury  on  the  part 
of  the  stewards,  who  sprang  upon  the  interrupter, 
silenced  her  by  a  blow  under  the  chin  or  an  im- 
promptu gag  and,  after  flinging  her  either  to  the 
ground  or  across  the  seats,  dragged  her  out  head 
foremost,  hitting  her  again  and  again.  Some  mem- 
bers of  the  audience  struck  with  fists  and  umbrellas 
at  the  women  who  were  being  carried  past.  Others 
tried  to  protect  them,  but  the  latter  were  always  set 
upon  by  the  officials  and  speedily  bundled  out. 

Even  outside  in  the  numerous  passages  that  sur- 
round the  circular  hall  the  ejectors,  some  of  whom 
were  heard  to  say  that  the  affair  was  more  amusing 
to  them  than  a  night  at  the  Music  Hall,  would  not 
allow  their  captives  to  escape  and  still  continued  to 
ill-treat  them  until  they  had  finally  flung  them  down 
the  steps  and  out  of  the  building.  At  last  Mr.  Lloyd 
George  stopped  —  the  scene  was  becoming  too  much 
even  for  him.  He  declared  that  he  would  rather 
sit  down  than  be  the  cause  of  so  much  violence. 
"  Yes,  do  sit  down  and  stop  it,"  a  chorus  of  dis- 
tressed voices  rose,  but  after  a  moment  he  went  on 
again  with  the  stale  old  reasons  why  women  should 
have  the  vote.  "  We  have  known  those  for  forty 
years,"  "  We  want  your  message,"  still  the  women's 
voices  called,  and  each  interruption  meant  an  ejec- 
tion. "  We  shall  get  peace  presently  by  this  process 
of  elimination,"  he  said.  "  Yes,  fling  them  ruthlessly 
out,"  his  own  words  at  Swansea  were  repeated,  and, 
"  You   will   never  eliminate   the   Suffragettes   from 


practical  politics."  For  more  than  an  hour  the  scene 
continued.  Again  and  again  Lady  M'Laren  inter- 
vened and  secured  a  few  moments'  peace  for  Mr. 
Lloyd  George  to  make  his  statement  and  again  and 
again  he  himself  promised  to  give  the  Government 
message  but  failed  to  do  so,  floundering  back  instead 
into  a  maze  of  arguments  for  and  against  the  vote. 
**  If  Queen  Elizabeth  had  been  alive  to-day,"  he 
ventured  once,  but,  "  She  would  have  been  in  Hollo- 
way  "  came  the  retort,  and  then  the  protesting  voices 
broke  out  afresh.  Then  at  last,  after  a  flight  of 
oratory  on  the  excellence  and  the  importance  to 
women  of  the  measures  already  introduced  by  the 
Liberal  Government,  the  declaration  came.  It  was 
nothing  but  Mr.  Asquith's  old  worn-out  promise  to 
introduce  a  Reform  Bill  and  not  to  oppose  a 
Women's  Suffrage  Amendment  to  it  on  certain  con- 
ditions. The  women  reminded  the  Chancellor  that 
the  Prime  Minister  had  relegated  the  introduction 
of  the  Reform  Bill  to  "  the  dim  and  speculative  fu- 
ture," but  he  protested  that  it  would  be  introduced 
before  the  Parliament  came  to  an  end.  He  was  asked 
how  women  were  to  prove  the  "  demand  "  for  their 
enfranchisement  which  was  one  of  the  conditions 
of  the  promise  and  his  reply  was,  **  as  the  men 
showed  their  desire,"  but  the  women  answered:  — 
**  Men  burnt  down  buildings,  they  shed  blood,"  and, 
**  the  Government  has  ignored  our  demonstrations." 
He  was  questioned  as  to  the  second  condition  that 
the  Votes  for  Women  amendment  must  be  drafted  on 
^*  democratic  lines,"  but  though  asked  again  and 
again  "  What  is  democratic?  "  he  vouchsafed  no  re- 
ply and  at  last  the  cry,  "Where  Is  the  message?  " 
broke  out  once  more  and  a  great  white  banner,  with 

NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  igo8     347 

the  inscription,  "  Be  honest,"  was  hung  out  from  one 
of  the  boxes. 

Of  course  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  was,  as  usual,  much 
blamed  for  what  had  taken  place.  The  heckling  of 
Mr.  Lloyd  George  was  declared  to  be  both  foolish 
and  wrong;  nevertheless  many  newspapers  protested 
strongly  against  the  behaviour  of  the  stewards  of  the 
meeting.  The  Liberal  Manchester  Guardian  said 
that  the  ejections  were  effected  "  with  a  promptness 
that  gave  the  chairman  no  opportunity  for  interven- 
ing," and  in  many  instances  "  with  a  brutality 
that  was  almost  nauseating."  The  Special  Corre- 
spondent of  the  Standard  spoke  of  the  "  grossly 
brutal  conduct "  of  the  stewards,  declaring  that 
"  some  of  the  worst  acts  of  unnecessary  violence  took 
place  within  ten  yards  of  the  chairman's  table,  and 
therefore  right  under  the  eyes  of  Lady  M'Laren 
and  Mr.  Lloyd  George.  The  men  responsible  for 
the  acts  were  stewards  wearing  the  official  yellow 
rosette.  That  I  am  prepared  to  swear  to."  At  the 
same  time  the  Manchester  Guardian,  in  its  leading 
article,  though  it  condemned  our  action,  admitted 
that  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  repetition  of  Mr.  Asquith's 
promise  was  entirely  unsatisfactory  from  the  Votes 
for  Women  point  of  view.  Many  others  took  the 
same  line,  and  the  Conservative  Globe  said,  "  We 
see  very  genuine  grounds  for  the  impatience  dis- 
played by  the  Suffragettes  at  the  Albert  Hall.  Mr. 
Lloyd  George  must  have  known  that  the  declaration 
he  had  to  make  would  have  infuriated  any  body  of 
men."  But  the  matter  did  not  end  with  newspaper 
discussions.  We  had  realised  from  the  first  time 
that  we  should  be  made  to  suffer  in  many  ways. 
Again  and  again  attempts  had  been  made  to  break 


up  meetings  addressed  both  by  Suffragettes  and  Suf- 
fragists, but  the  women  were  hardly  ever  afforded 
the  protection  of  the  police  and,  as  their  meetings 
were  almost  entirely  officered  by  women  stewards 
they  were  obliged  to  rely  upon  their  own  powers  of 
persuasion  and  magnetic  force  of  will  to  control  their 
audiences.  This  the  Suffragettes  have  always  been 
prepared  to  do,  but  it  was  not  always  done  without 

Already,  at  a  meeting  in  Birmingham,  Christabel 
had  been  assaulted  with  the  bodies  of  dead  mice  and, 
on  live  mice  being  let  loose  at  one  of  our  meetings, 
a  well-known  Glasgow  daily  paper  had  suggested 
that  rats  or  even  ferrets  might  suitably  be  employed. 

After  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  Albert  Hall  meeting, 
such  outbreaks  of  violence  against  us  became  for  a 
time  exceedingly  frequent.  At  a  meeting  which  I 
addressed  just  then  for  a  Women's  Suffrage  society 
in  Ipswich  there  was  abundant  evidence  to  prove  that 
well-known  Liberals  in  the  town  had  bought  shilling 
tickets  of  admission  for  a  number  of  men  whom  they 
paid  a  further  shilling  each  to  create  a  disturbance 
and,  as  soon  as  I  rose  to  speak,  I  was  assailed  by 
shouts  and  yells,  the  singing  of  a  song  especially 
composed  and  printed  with  this  object,  which  had 
been  distributed  broadcast  throughout  the  town,  the 
rattle  of  tin  cans  and  the  ringing  of  bells.  During 
my  speech  several  free  fights  took  place  in  the  hall. 
Walking  sticks  and  other  missiles  were  sent  flying 
through  the  air  and  an  offensive  smell  of  sulphuretted 
hydrogen  was  let  out.  The  women  who  had  pro- 
moted the  meeting,  whilst  anxious  that  I  should 
stand  my  ground,  were  in  despair  at  the  damage 
which  they  saw  was  being  done  to  the  hall,  but,  when 

NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     349 

they  sent  for  the  police  to  quell  the  disturbancfe  the 
Chief  Constable  of  the  town  declared  that  he  had  no 
power  to  act.  His  statement  sounded  strangely  to 
Suffragettes  who  had  seen  the  police  always  massed 
around  the  meetings  of  Cabinet  Ministers,  and  had 
also  frequently  seen  them  brought  in  to  eject  women 

A  few  days  after  the  Albert  Hall  meeting  Helen 
Ogston  herself  spoke  at  Maidenhead,  where  a  gang 
of  men,  some  of  them  made  up  as  guys  and  dressed 
in  women's  clothes,  waved  whips  at  her  and  finally 
drove  the  speakers  from  the  platform.  The  only 
thing  that  the  police  could  suggest  was  that  the 
women  should  fly. 

At  this  time  a  by-election  was  in  progress  at 
Chelmsford  and,  in  organising  our  campaign  there, 
we  had  at  first  to  contend  with  great  disorder.  On 
the  opening  night  of  the  election  the  members  of  the 
National  Union  of  Women's  Suffrage  Societies  were 
entirely  swept  from  their  platform  in  the  Market 
Square,  whilst  a  mob  of  hooligans  surrounded  the 
lorry  from  which  we  were  speaking  and  dragged  it 
down  a  hill  into  the  darkness  away  from  the  street 
lamps.  Though,  aided  by  steadier  sections  of  the 
audience,  we  still  succeeded  in  maintaining  a  sem- 
blance of  order,  as  soon  as  we  descended  from  the 
cart  the  rowdies  crushed  and  jostled  us  so  unmerci- 
fully that  had  it  not  been  for  some  men  who  fought 
for  us  and  who  were  seriously  bruised  in  the  struggle, 
we  should  have  been  trampled  under  foot.  We  were 
at  last  dragged  for  safety  into  the  entrance  hall  of 
the  Municipal  buildings  where  a  banquet  was  being 
held.  The  head  waiter,  who  stood  at  the  door,  was 
exceedingly  anxious  to  get  rid  both  of  us  and  the 


noisy  crowd  that  remained  clamouring  outside,  and 
we  were  therefore  taken  by  an  underground  passage 
to  the  Police  Court,  and  kept  waiting  there  for  an 

This  sort  of  thing  did  not  continue  long  in  Chelms- 
ford, for,  as  has  invariably  been  the  case,  as  soon  as 
the  Suffragettes  became  known  to  the  people,  the 
hostility  which  was  at  first  manifested  towards  them 
entirely  disappeared.  Mrs.  Drummond  was  the 
heroine  of  this  election,  for  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  cam- 
paign was  entirely  organised  by  her.  In  the  illus- 
tration she  is  shown  distributing  leaflets  to  the  farm- 
ers in  the  Chelmsford  Market  Place  at  the  close  of 
her  speech  to  them.  The  result  of  the  poll  was  a 
fall  of  nearly  twenty  per  cent,  in  the  Liberal  vote, 
and  a  piling-up  of  one  hostile  majority  against  them 
from  454  to  2,565,  which  was  generally  acknowl- 
edged in  the  constituency  to  be  largely  due  to  the 

The  violence  of  the  rowdies  met  with  little  rebuke 
from  political  leader  writers  and  under  the  heading, 
"  Sparrows  for  Suffragettes,"  the  JVestminster  Ga- 
zette stated,  "  Essex  has  just  provided  two  amusing 
Suffragist  Incidents,"  and  described  in  the  same  spirit 
the  letting  loose  of  a  flight  of  sparrows  inside  a  hall 
where  the  women  were  speaking  and  the  breaking 
up  of  a  Suffragist  meeting  by  boys  who  had  rushed 
the  speakers,  and  cast  carbide  on  the  wet  roads. 

Consider  the  action  of  a  body  of  women  who,  in 
order  to  obtain  a  share  in  the  constitution,  delib- 
erately decide  to  attend  the  meetings  addressed  by 
the  members  of  a  Government  that  has  the  power  to 
grant  them  what  they  desire  but  withholds  it.  Con- 
sider also  that  these  women  are  deprived  by  their 

The  human  letters  dispatched  by  Miss  Jessie  Kcnney  to 
Mr.  Asquith  at  No.  10  Downing  Street,  Jan.   23,  1909 

NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908    351 

sex  of  the  principal  constitutional  means  of  pressing 
their  claim  and  that  their  action  is  taken  at  great 
personal  risk.  Then  contrast  the  action  of  these 
women  with  that  of  a  crowd  of  men  who,  absolutely- 
careless  of  injuring  either  persons  or  property,  and 
merely  because  they  imagine  that  their  victims  are 
unpopular  or  opposed  to  those  whom  they  believe  to 
be  their  own  political  friends,  deliberately  set  out 
with  the  intention  of  breaking  up  the  meetings  of 
women  who  are  withholding  no  man's  rights  from 
him  and  who  have  no  power  to  give  rights  to  any- 
one, but  who  are  merely  struggling  to  obtain  the 
franchise  which  their  assailants  themselves  possess. 
Surely  no  one  with  an  unprejudiced  mind  could  con- 
sider that  there  is  a  parallel  between  the  case  of  those 
particular  women  and  those  particular  men.  Party 
politicians  had  before  them  frequent  examples  of  the 
two  cases  and  they  decided  that  there  was  no  parallel. 
They  decided  that  the  action  of  the  men  was  excus- 
able, but  that  the  action  of  the  women  must  be  con- 
demned in  the  most  emphatic  terms  and  must  be 
sternly  repressed  at  any  cost. 

A  measure  called  the  Public  Meeting  Bill  provid- 
ing that  any  person  who  acted  in  a  disorderly  man- 
ner in  order  to  prevent  the  transaction  of  the  business 
for  which  a  meeting  had  been  called  together  should 
be  rendered  liable  to  a  fine  not  exceeding  £5  or  to 
imprisonment  for  a  period  not  exceeding  one  month, 
was  therefore  laid  before  Parliament  by  Lord  Robert 
Cecil.  As  the  slightest  interjection  or  the  most  perti- 
nent question  by  a  Suffragette  had  now  become  the 
signal  for  a  scene  of  disturbance,  it  was  clearly  ap- 
parent that  they  would  not  be  able  to  raise  their 
voices  at  the  meetings  of  Cabinet  Ministers  without 


rendering  themselves  liable  to  the  suggested  penal- 
ties. Though  the  Bill  was  introduced  but  a  few  days 
before  the  end  of  the  Session,  the  Government  at 
once  provided  for  it  the  facilities  which  had  been 
denied  to  that  equally  short  measure  to  enfranchise 
the  women  of  the  country,  and  it  was  quickly  rushed 
through  the  two  Houses  and  became  law  before  the 
end  of  the  year. 

Party  feeling  on  the  one  hand,  and  public  indiffer- 
ence on  the  other,  veiled  for  the  time  being  the  seri- 
ous and  revolutionary  nature  of  this  measure  and 
allowed  it  to  be  placed  on  the  statute  book  with 
scarcely  a  word  of  discussion  or  protest.  Neverthe- 
less it  struck  at  one  of  our  most  ancient  and  funda- 
mental national  customs.  Describing  the  ancient 
governmental  assemblies  of  the  Saxon  peoples 
Tacitus  explains  that  though,  as  a  rule,  only  the  more 
distinguished  members  of  the  community  put  for- 
ward new  proposals,  all  had  a  right  to  be  present 
and  the  bystanders  at  once  expressed  their  opinion  in 
regard  to  all  suggestions.     He  says : 

The  eldest  opens  the  proceedings,  then  each  man  speaks 
according  as  distinguished  by  age,  family,  renown  in  war  or 
eloquence.  No  one  commands,  only  the  personal  dignity  re- 
siding in  him  exercises  its  influence.  No  distinction  of  rank 
exists ;  the  Assembly  determines  and  its  determination  is  law. 
Proposals,  when  deemed  acceptable,  are  hailed  with  loud 
acclaim  and  clash  of  arms.  A  loud  shout  of  dissent  rejects 
what  appears  to  be  unacceptable. 

Our  present  system  of  Government  is,  after  all, 
the  direct  descendant  of  these  ancient  assemblies. 
Largely  owing  to  the  distinctions  of  class  which  have 
sprung  up  and  have  grown  more  and  more  complex 


NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     353 

and  at  the  same  time  more  deeply  marked  because 
of  the  constant  struggling  of  those  who  already  pos- 
sess advantages  of  property  and  of  education  to  add 
to  these  advantages  a  greater  political  power  than 
their  fellows  by  restricting  the  rights  of  those  who 
are  poorer  and  weaker  than  themselves  many  changes 
have  been  wrought.  It  has  come  about  that  our 
modern  Parliament  is  elected  by  only  a  section  of 
the  people;  and  that  almost  the  whole  of  the  busi- 
ness transacted  by  Parliament  is  carried  on  by  a  smajl 
Cabinet  of  persons  nominated  by  one  man,  himself 
pitch-forked  into  power  by  a  possibly  transient  wave 
of  popularity.  Moreover,  our  existing  system  of 
party  Government  renders  this  small  Cabinet  almost 
all-powerful  during  its  term  of  office  and  the  strong 
party  prejudice,  obtaining  both  amongst  Private 
Members  of  Parliament  and  the  Press  of  the  coun- 
try, secures  that  the  Cabinet  shall  remain  almost  ex- 
empt from  criticism,  except  by  the  followers  of  the 
opposing  party.  This  criticism  loses  in  influence  and 
value  because,  for  party  purposes,  it  is  directed  al- 
most without  exception  against  every  act  of  the 
Cabinet,  whether  the  act  be  in  itself  worthy  or  un- 
worthy. The  section  of  the  people  who  are  entitled 
to  vote  and  who  elect  the  majority  that  makes  the 
power  of  the  Cabinet  possible  may,  it  is  true,  dis- 
miss them  at  the  next  general  election  if  they  disap- 
prove of  the  way  in  which  their  stewardship  has  been 
fulfilled ;  but  they  cannot  insist  upon  an  election  when 
they  will  and  they  have  no  power  to  decide  that  their 
representatives  have  done  well  in  one  respect  and 
badly  in  another.  It  is  only  possible  either  entirely 
to  accept  what  the  representatives  have  done  or  to 
reject  them  altogether. 


There  exists  also  the  right  of  every  section  of  the 
people  to  carry  resolutions  embodying  their  opinion 
in  regard  to  matters  of  Government,  which  may 
either  be  published  broadcast  or  presented  in  the  form 
of  petitions  for  redress  of  grievances  to  those  in 
power.  But  what  usually  happens  to  resolutions  and 
petitions  put  forward  by  those  who  have  no  political 
power  is  aptly  expressed  in  the  words  of  Mr.  Ser- 
jeant HuUock,  the  Counsel  who  spoke  for  the  Co- 
ercionist  Government  in  one  of  the  cases  arising  out 
of  the  massacre  of  Peterloo,  which  took  place  in 
1819,  prior  to  the  passing  of  the  first  reform  Act. 
**  If  deliberation  had  been  their  object,"  he  said, 
"  could  they  not  have  settled  their  petition  in  a  pri- 
vate room  and  then  have  sent  it  to  the  House  of 
Commons,  where  it  would  have  been  laid  on  the 
table  and  never  heard  of  again?  "  Nevertheless  the 
old  right  of  the  by-standers,  the  right  of  the  whole 
people  to  express  their  opinion  in  regard  to  sugges- 
tions put  forward  by  powerful  folk  and  to  receive 
them  either  with  shouts  of  approval  or  equally  loud 
cries  of  dissent  still  exists  and  it  exists  —  if  it  has 
not  been  altogether  destroyed  by  the  Public  Meeting 
Bill  —  not  merely  for  men,  but  for  women.  This 
right  is  constantly  exercised  when  a  member  of  the 
Government,  and,  to  a  lesser  extent,  a  private  Mem- 
ber of  Parliament  appears  before  a  public  meeting 
of  the  people  to  make  proposals  for  fresh  legislation 
and  to  give  an  account  of  his  stewardship  in  the  past. 
When  he  comes  forward  thus,  the  people,  women  as 
well  as  men,  have  the  right  to  express  assent  or  dis- 
sent with  what  he  has  done  or  with  what  he  has  left 
undone,  with  what  he  proposes  and  what  he  has 
omitted  to  propose.     They  have  the  right  to  ques- 

NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     355 

tion  him  and  to  demand  an  answer,  to  heckle  him 
during  his  speech  if  they  will,  and  if  they  will  to  cry 
out  and  refuse  to  let  him  speak  until  he  has  dealt 
with  the  thing  which  they  have  at  heart,  and  if  they 
believe  that  he  has  not  dealt  justly  with  that  thing 
they  have  the  right  to  decide  that  he  shall  not  be 
heard.  How  else  can  he  know  the  mind  of  the  coun- 
try? How  else  can  those  who  are  without  the  Par- 
liamentary franchise  express  their  will?  There  is 
no  other  way  and  this  right  is  one  of  those  upon 
which  the  people  of  these  Islands  have  always  in- 
sisted. Those  who  have  said  that  if  this  right  be 
exercised  the  right  of  free  speech  will  be  endangered 
do  not  realise  what  the  right  of  free  speech  is.  The 
right  of  free  speech  is  the  right  of  everyone  to  speak 
publicly  and  without  penalty  or  restraint,  of  what 
seems  important,  and  this  old  right  to  question  and 
to  express  assent  and  dissent  is  included  in  it.  It  is 
the  only  refuge  of  those  who  have  no  political  power. 
The  right  of  members  of  the  Government  to  speak 
freely  can  never  be  endangered,  for  they  have  Par- 
liament to  speak  from,  the  police  and  military  at 
their  beck  and  call  to  protect  them  and  enforce  their 
wishes,  and  the  Press  of  the  country  all  waiting  to 
note  down  their  words  and  publish  them'  broadcast 
throughout  the  land.  The  right  of  poor  and  vote- 
less people  to  be  heard  has  been  endangered  by  this 
Bill  and  so  long  as  it  remains  on  the  Statute  Book 
it  is  a  standing  menace  to  our  ancient  popular  liber- 

Happily,  up  to  now,  the  Bill  has  been  practically 
a  dead  letter,  but  none  can  be  sure  that  an  instru- 
ment of  coercion  which  exists  will  not  be  put  into 
force.     Had  the  movement  for  Women's  Enfran- 


chlsement  been  a  movement  solely  of  poor  women 
with  others  dependent  upon  them,  as  might  have  been 
the  case,  the  new  Bill  might  have  proved  a  serious 
menace  to  the  movement,  but,  as  it  happened,  there 
was  fortunately  no  lack  of  women  who  were  able  and 
willing  to  risk  imprisonment.  Therefore  this  Bill 
could  make  no  difference  to  us. 

Nevertheless,  though  our  members  might  not  have 
left  a  crowd  of  starving  children  behind  them,  we 
well  knew  that  their  going  to  prison  entailed  many 
sacrifices  and  we  always  waited  impatiently  for  their 
release  and  welcomed  them  back  amongst  us  with 
the  greatest  joy.  During  the  summer  and  autumn 
bands  of  women  in  white  dresses  had  flocked  to  the 
gaol  gates,  had  unhorsed  the  carriages  provided  to 
carry  the  prisoners  to  breakfast,  and  with  purple, 
white  and  green  ribbons  had  drawn  them  in  triumph 
through  the  streets.  With  Scotch  tartans  and  Scotch 
heather  the  Scotch  women  had  been  welcomed;  four 
Irish  colleens  and  an  Irish  piper  and  a  jaunting  car 
met  Mrs.  Tanner,  an  Irish  woman,  and  women  in 
prison  dress  marched  from  the  station  with  Mrs. 
Baines  on  her  return  to  London.  When  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst,  Mrs.  Leigh  and  Christabel  were  released, 
earlier  than  had  been  expected,  on  December  19th, 
women  on  white  horses  drew  their  carriage,  and 
behind  and  before  there  marched  long  lines  of  W.  S. 
P.  U.  members  wearing  white  jerseys,  purple  skirts, 
and  gaiters,  green  caps,  and  "  votes  for  women  " 

In  the  evening  a  meeting  of  welcome  was  held  in 
Queen's  Hall,  and  as  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Christabel, 
and  Mrs.  Leigh  appeared  all  the  organisers  of  the 

NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908     357 

Union  in  their  white  dresses  lined  up  and  saluted  them 
with  tricolour  flags,  whilst  the  great  audience  of 
women  sprang  to  their  feet  and  cheered  and  waved 
and  cheered  again  as  few  but  Suffragette  audiences 
can.  Then  Annie  Kenney  stepped  forward  holding 
in  her  hand  a  purple,  white  and  green  silk  standard 
with  an  aluminum  staff,  bearing  a  gilt  shield  inscribed 
with  the  great  dates  in  Christabel's  career. 

When  Christabel  spoke  she  recalled  the  many  thou- 
sands of  Women's  Suffrage  meetings  that  had  been 
held  in  this  country  and  the  work  of  the  pioneers 
who  had  begun  the  agitation  more  than  forty  years 
before.  These  women  had  laboured  well  and  de- 
votedly, yet  they  had  not  succeeded  in  gaining  for 
women  the  Parliamentary  vote.  She  believed  the 
reason  for  this  to  be  that  they  had  relied  too  much 
upon  the  justice  of  their  cause  and  not  enough  upon 
their  strong  right  arm,  for  an  idea  had  only  life  and 
power  in  it  when  it  was  backed  up  by  deeds.  What 
had  been  wanted  was  action  and  it  was  for  this  rea- 
son that  the  militant  tactics  had  achieved  so  much 
already  and  would  in  the  end  succeed.  The  old 
methods  of  asking  for  the  vote  had  proved  futile, 
and  not  only  were  they  futile,  but  they  were  humili- 
ating and  unworthy  of  women.  "  I  say  to  you,"  she 
said,  "  that  any  woman  here  who  is  content  to  appeal 
for  the  vote  instead  of  demanding  and  fighting  for  it 
is  dishonouring  herself."  The  women  who  came 
into  the  militant  movement  did  not  fear  suffering  and 
sacrifice;  they  felt,  not  that  they  gave  up  anything 
for  the  movement,  but  that  they  gained  everything 
by  it.  "  Why,"  she  cried,  "  the  women  of  this 
Union  are  the  happiest  people  in  the  world.     We 


have  the  glorious  pride  of  being  made  an  instrument 
of  those  great  forces  that  are  working  towards  prog- 
ress and  liberty." 

That  note  was  struck  again  and  again,  and  it 
was  upon  that  note  that  the  whole  meeting  rested. 
Loyalty,  enthusiasm,  courage,  belief  in  a  great 
cause,  the  joy  of  fighting  for  it,  these  things  filled 
the  air.  No  one  could  fail  to  be  impressed  by 
them.  When  Mrs.  Pankhurst  rose  to  speak  some- 
one stepped  forward  and  pressed  into  her  hand  a 
replica  of  a  medal  struck  to  commemorate  the  fall  of 
the  Paris  Bastille  in  the  French  Revolution,  because 
she  had  been  born  on  the  anniversary  of  that  day. 
She  was  weakened  and  worn  by  her  imprisonment, 
but  her  speech,  brief  and  somewhat  hesitating  as  it 
was,  contained  a  pronouncement  heralding  impor- 
tant events,  for  it  foreshadowed  the  hardest  and  bit- 
terest struggle  to  secure  the  rights  of  Political  Of- 
fenders to  British  women  political  prisoners  that  had 
yet  been  fought. 

Two  further  events  must  be  chronicled  before  clos- 
ing the  story  of  the  year  1908.  The  first  is  the 
fight  of  the  Scottish  women  graduates  for  the  recog- 
nition of  their  claim  to  vote  under  the  Scottish  Uni- 
versity Franchise  which  they  carried  right  through 
to  the  House  of  Lords.  Though  they  failed  to 
establish  their  claim,  they  yet  brought  to  light  many 
valuable  new  facts  in  regard  to  the  rights  and  privi- 
leges of  their  countrywomen  in  ancient  times.  One 
of  their  contentions  was  that  the  question  as  to 
whether  they  might  vote  should  be  decided  accord- 
ing to  the  actual  wording  of  the  University  Fran- 
chise Act  and  not  according  to  the  known,  or  sup- 
posed, intentions  of  Parliament,  for  that  is  the  rule 

NOVEMBER  TO  THE  END  OF  1908    359 

which  the  British  Courts  have  agreed  to  be  always 
the  just  and  proper  one  to  adopt.  There  was  noth- 
ing in  the  words  of  the  Act  to  prevent  women  gradu- 
ates from  voting  on  equal  terms  with  men,  and  even 
if  it  were  held  that  this  had  happened  because  when 
the  Act  was  passed  the  legislature  had  not  foreseen 
the  possibility  of  there  ever  being  women  gradu- 
ates, the  right  course  to  pursue  (because  it  was  the 
accepted  course  when  such  questions  in  regard  to 
Acts  of  Parliament  arose)  was  for  the  women  to  be 
allowed  to  vote  until  Parliament,  if  it  chose  to  do 
so,  should  carry  an  amending  statute.  The  gradu- 
ates pointed  out  that  this  had  been  done  in  the  case 
of  the  first  woman  who  had  graduated  in  medicine, 
in  the  Netherlands  where,  as  in  England,  graduation 
carried  with  it  the  right  to  vote.  This  lady  had 
claimed  her  right  and  not  being  allowed  to  exercise 
it  had  taken  her  case  to  the  Courts.  For  technical 
reasons  the  case  had  been  postponed  and  during  the 
postponement  the  Legislature  had  brought  in  a  re- 
pealing enactment  to  prevent  women  graduates 
voting  and  had  succeeded  in  carrying  it.  The  rea- 
son for  the  refusal  of  the  English  authorities  to  take 
this  course  is  clearly  apparent,  for  it  would  have  been 
difficult  indeed  for  our  Parliament  to  carry  such  a 
repealing  measure  in  the  face  of  the  tremendous  Suf- 
fragette and  Suffragist  agitation. 

The  second  of  these  two  important  happenings 
and  perhaps  the  most  auspicious  one  of  the  whole 
year,  was  the  granting  of  votes  to  women  in  Victoria 
where,  after  struggling  for  many  years,  the  Suf- 
fragists had  at  length  succeeded  in  inducing  their 
Government  to  take  the  matter  up  and  had  secured 
their  enfranchisement  on  November  i8th,  1908. 


Reminding  the  Cabinet  Council  of  Votes  for  Women. 
Attempts  by  the  Women's  Freedom  League  to 
Interview  Mr.  Asquith.  Arrest  of  Mrs.  Despard. 
The  Seventh  Women's  Parliament.  Arrest  of 
Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  and  Lady  Constance 
Lytton.  Mr.  Geoffrey  Howard's  Reform  Bill. 
The  Eighth  Women's  Parliament. 

Speaking  in  December,  1908,  on  the  policy  of 
his  Government  in  the  New  Year,  Mr.  Asquith  had 
declared  that  the  stream  of  advice  as  to  what  he 
should  do  next  session  was  pouring  in  upon  him 
**  both  night  and  day,"  and  that  he  was  constantly 
receiving  deputations  who  came  to  him  "  from  all 
quarters  and  in  all  causes,  on  an  average  of  some- 
thing like  two  hours  on  three  days  in  every  week." 
These  deputations  all  asked  for  different  things,  but 
were  all  agreed  that  "  their  measure  must  be 
mentioned  in  the  King's  Speech,  and  that  the  best 
hours,  or  at  all  events  some  of  the  best  hours,  of  the 
session  must  be  given  to  its  special  consideration. 
And  the  worst  of  it  is,"  he  went  on,  "  that  I  am  dis- 
posed myself  to  agree  with  them  all,  for,  as  each 
group  in  their  turn  come  to  me,  I  recognise  in  them 
some  of  our  most  loyal  and  fervent  supporters." 

Thus  Mr.  Asquith  was  constantly  receiving  depu- 
tations of  men  and,  as  he  here  admitted,  the  deputa- 



JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  1909        361 

tions  were  helping  him  to  decide  what  measures  he 
must  include  in  the  next  King's  Speech,  but  he  again 
refused  to  receive  a  deputation  of  the  women. 
Therefore,  when  the  first  Cabinet  Council  of  the 
season  met  on  January  25th,  members  of  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  called  at  No. 
10  Downing  Street  to  urge  their  claims  again  as  they 
had  done  last  year.  For  knocking  at  the  door,  four 
of  them  were  arrested,  and  at  Bow  Street,  where 
for  administrative  reasons  all  Suffragette  cases  were 
in  future  to  be  tried,  they  were  ordered  to  go  to 
prison  for  one  month.  They  went  cheerfully,  for 
Mrs.  Clark,  a  sister  of  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  voiced  the 
feelings  of  all  when,  during  her  trial,  she  said,  **  I 
felt  that  it  was  not  I  who  was  knocking  at  the  Prime 
Minister's  door,  but  the  great  need  of  women  knock- 
ing at  the  conscience  of  the  nation,  and  demanding 
that  justice  shall  be  done." 

Next  day  it  was  the  members  of  the  Women's 
Freedom  League  who  strove  to  obtain  an  interview 
with  Mr.  Asquith,  and,  in  consequence,  six  of  their 
number  were  arrested  in  Victoria  Street,  on  their 
way  to  the  Official  residence;  sixteen  at  the  entrance 
to  Downing  Street ;  and  six,  including  Mrs.  Despard 
and  Mr.  Joseph  Clayton,  a  journalist,  who  protested 
on  their  behalf,  at  the  door  of  the  Stranger's  En- 
trance to  the  House  of  Commons.  The  resulting 
sentences  varied  from  one  month  to  fourteen  days' 

Little  notice  was  given  of  these  imprisonments, 
the  Press  evidently  thinking  such  sensations  stale; 
but  those  active  inventive  brains  at  Clement's  Inn 
were  determined  not  to  be  check-mated  and  were 
ever  devising  new  stratagems  and  new  surprises  as 


a  means  of  pushing  the  cause  forward.  When  Mr. 
Churchill  visited  Newcastle  to  inspect  a  battleship, 
on  December  4th  and  5  th,  he  was  approached  on  the 
first  of  these  days  no  fewer  than  fifteen  times,  and 
on  the  second  almost  constantly,  by  women  who  met 
him  at  the  station,  at  the  door  of  his  hotel,  at  a  re- 
ception held  in  his  honour,  on  the  pier,  on  the  launch, 
on  the  ship  itself,  and  again  at  every  turn  on  land- 
ing, and  who  presented  him  with  copies  of  **  Votes 
for  Women,"  urged  the  cause  upon  him  in  brief 
hurried  reminders,  and  made  speeches  to  him  from 
neighbouring  boats.  Every  other  Minister  was 
similarly  waylaid. 

When  Parliament  met,  and  the  King's  Speech  was 
found  to  contain  no  mention  of  **  Votes  for  Women,*' 
the  W.  S.  P.  U.  decided  that  another  Woman's 
Parliament  must  be  held  and  another  deputation  of 
women  must  be  sent  out  from  it.  Then  again  some- 
thing that  had  never  been  done  before  had  to  be 
contrived  for  focussing  public  attention  upon  this 
event.  Quite  opportunely  the  Post  Master  General 
happened  to  issue  new  regulations  making  it  pos- 
sible to  post  "  human  letters."  Of  course  it  was 
at  once  determined  to  post  some  Suffragettes  as  let- 
ters to  Mr.  Asquith  in  Downing  Street.  Accord- 
ingly, on  Tuesday  morning,  January  23rd,  Jessie 
Kenney  dispatched  Miss  Solomon  and  Miss  Mc- 
Clellan  from  the  Strand  post  office.  Then,  in 
charge  of  a  little  messenger  boy,  one  carrying  a 
placard  inscribed  ''  Votes  for  Women,  Deputation  to 
the  House  of  Commons,  Wednesday,''  and  the  other, 
to  the  Right  Hon.  H.  H.  Asquith,  10,  Downing 
Street,  S.  W.,  the  two  ladies  marched  off  to  the  offi- 
cial residence.     When  they  arrived  the  messenger 

The  arrest  of  Miss  Dora  Marsden,  the  Standard  Bearer, 
March  30th,  1909 

JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  1909        363 

boy  was  invited  inside,  and  the  door  was  shut,  but, 
after  a  few  moments,  it  was  opened  again  and  an 
official  appeared,  saying  to  the  women,  **  You  must 
be  returned."  "  But  we  have  been  paid  for,"  they 
protested,  and  he  replied,  "  The  Post  Office  must 
deliver  you  somewhere  else,  you  cannot  be  received 
here."  "  An  express  letter  is  an  official  document," 
they  persisted,  "  and  must  be  signed  for  according  to 
the  regulations."  But  the  official  replied,  "  You  can- 
not be  signed  for;  you  must  be  returned;  you  are 
dead  letters."  So  there  was  nothing  for  it  but  to 
go  back  to  Clement's  Inn. 

Another  day  a  facsimile  of  "  Black  Maria,"  the 
van  which  takes  the  prisoners  to  HoUoway,  was  seen 
driving  through  the  town.  It  bore  the  inscription 
E.  P.  for  Emmeline  Pankhurst,  instead  of  E.  R., 
Edward  Rex,  and  a  man  dressed  almost  exactly  like 
a  policeman  rode  on  the  back  step.  When  the  van 
reached  Regent  Street  a  body  of  women  in  imitation 
prison  dress  emerged  and  proceeded  to  distribute 
handbills  to  the  passers-by  and  to  chalk  announce- 
ments of  the  forthcoming  deputation  to  Mr.  Asquith 
upon  the  pavement.  The  members  of  the  Women's 
Freedom  League  also  hit  upon  a  new  and  striking 
advertisement,  for  Miss  Matters,  the  heroine  of  the 
Grille  scene,  floated  over  the  House  of  Commons  in 
a  cigar-shaped  dirigible  balloon  painted  with  the  fate- 
ful words,  **  Votes  for  Women." 

Ridiculous,  petty,  even  unworthy  of  serious  people, 
you  may  think,  were  some  of  these  methods  of 
propaganda  and  advertisement,  but  the  Suffragettes 
knew  only  too  well  that  the  cause  which  does  not 
advance  cannot  remain  stationary,  but  slips  back  into 
the  limbo  of  forgotten  things.     On  February  24th, 


the  seventh  Women's  Parliament  met  in  the  Caxton 
Hall.  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence  sallied  forth  from  it 
with  a  number  of  women  in  her  train,  but  she  and 
twenty-eight  of  her  comrades,  including  Lady  Con- 
stance Lytton  and  Miss  Daisy  D.  Solomon,  the 
daughter  of  the  Late  Prime  Minister  of  the  Cape, 
were  soon  arrested.  Their  trial  took  place  before 
Sir  Albert  de  Rutzen  at  Bow  Street  next  day,  and  on 
refusing  to  be  bound  over  to  keep  the  peace  they 
received  sentences  of  from  one  to  two  months'  im- 

There  were  now  many  members,  both  of  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  and  of  the 
Women's  Freedom  League,  in  HoUoway,  and  one 
day,  whilst  they  were  exercising  together,  a  member 
of  the  latter  organisation,  Mrs.  Meredith  Mac- 
Donald,  a  lady  in  middle  life,  fell  on  the  frosty 
stones.  Two  of  her  fellow  prisoners  ran  to  help  her, 
but  the  wardress  forced  them  away  and,  though  she 
said  she  believed  her  thigh  to  be  injured,  she  was 
forced  to  drag  herself  unaided  to  her  cell.  Her  re- 
quest to  see  her  own  doctor  was  refused  and  not  until 
she  became  unable  even  to  turn  in  her  bed  was  she 
removed  to  the  prison  hospital.  When,  at  last,  the 
ex-rays  were  applied,  it  was  found  that  her  thigh 
was  fractured,  and  that,  owing  to  the  long  delay  and 
lack  of  proper  treatment,  she  would  be  lame  for  life. 
The  matter  was  reported  to  the  Home  Secretary  with 
a  demand  for  redress,  but  no  result  followed  until 
June,  1 9 10,  more  than  a  year  afterwards,  when,  legal 
proceedings  having  been  instituted,  the  authorities  at 
last  agreed  to  pay  Mrs.  MacDonald  £500  damages 
and  her  legal  costs,  amounting  to  an  equal  sum. 

Meanwhile  a  place  for  a  Women's  Suffrage  meas- 

Elsie  Howey  as  Joan  of  Arc,  who  rode  at  the  head  of  the 

procession  fonned  to  celebrate  Mrs.  Pethick 

Lawrence's  release  from  prison 

JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  1909        365 

ure  had  been  won  In  the  private  Members'  ballot  by 
Mr.  Geoffrey  Howard,  a  Liberal  Member  of  Parlia- 
ment and  son  of  the  Countess  of  Carlisle.  Mr. 
Howard  and  the  Women's  Suffrage  Committee  of 
Liberal  Members  with  whom  he  was  working,  de- 
cided to  abandon  the  old  equal  Bill  and  to  introduce 
a  complicated  Reform  measure,  on  the  lines  of  that 
foreshadowed  by  Mr.  Asquith  in  his  famous  promise 
of  the  previous  year,  except  that,  in  this  case.  Votes 
for  Women  was  to  form  part  of  the  original  measure, 
instead  of  being  left  to  come  in  as  an  amendment. 
Under  this  Private  Members'  Reform  Bill  the  only 
condition  required  for  registration  as  a  Parliamen- 
tary voter  was  to  be  that  the  person  registered, 
whether  man  or  woman,  should  be  of  full  age  and 
have  resided  for  not  less  than  three  months  within 
the  same  constituency.  It  was  estimated  that  the 
Bill  would  qualify  some  fifteen  million  new  voters, 
twelve  million  of  whom  would  be  women,^  and 
would  thus  nearly  treble  the  number  at  present  en- 
titled to  exercise  the  franchise.  It  would  at  the 
same  time  abolish  plural  voting.  The  professed  ob- 
ject of  bringing  forward  this  measure  was  to  meet 
the  stipulation  put  forward  by  Mr.  Asquith  and  Mr. 
Lloyd  George  that  votes  should  not  be  given  to 
women  except  on  **  democratic  lines." 

On  Friday,  March  19th,  the  Bill  came  up  for 
Second  Reading  and  Mr.  Howard,  in  explaining  its 
provisions,  said  that  he  had  no  hope  of  carrying  It 
into  law,  but  merely  wished  to  "  clear  the  air  "  for 
the  Reform  Bill  promised  by  the  Government.  Sir 
Charles  M'Laren  said  that  he  hoped  this  Bill  might 

1  Estimate  given  by  the  Liberal  Daily  Chronicle, 


help  the  Government  to  come  to  some  decision  as 
to  the  manner  in  which  they  would  deal  with  the 
Women's  Suffrage  question  next  year,  but  when  Mr. 
Asquith  arose  to  make  the  expected  Government  pro- 
nouncement, he  declared  that  the  opinion  of  the 
Government  was  unchanged  and  entirely  unaffected 
by  the  introduction  of  this  Bill.  He  added,  however, 
that  there  were  certain  proposals  contained  in  the 
measure  of  which  he  approved,  but  carefully  ex- 
plained that  his  approval  only  extended  so  far  as  the 
Bill  referred  to  men.  Though  he  was  aware  that 
the  measure  would  not  be  pressed  beyond  a  Second 
Reading,  he  stated  that  the  members  of  the  Govern- 
ment would  abstain  from  voting  either  for  or  against 
it.  The  whole  debate,  therefore,  ended  in  fiasco, 
and  had  been  merely  a  wasted  opportunity.  After 
Mr.  Asquith's  pronouncement  the  House  divided  and 
there  voted, 

For  the  Bill 157 

Against  the  Bill 122 

Majority  for  the  Bill 35 

It  will  be  thus  seen  that  this  Bill  of  Mr.  Howard's 
secured  a  very  much  smaller  measure  of  support  than 
that  which  had  been  accorded  to  the  equal  Women's 
Enfranchisement  Bill  in  the  previous  year,  for  the 
figures  had  then  been:  For  the  Bill  271,  against  92. 
Majority  for  the  Bill  179. 

The  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  now  de- 
cided that  another  deputation  should  attempt  to 
obtain  an  interview  with  Mr.  Asquith,  and  an  eighth 
Women's  Parliament  was  held  on  March  30th. 
Mrs.  Saul  Solomon,  widow  of  the  Governor  General 

JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  1909        367 

of  South  Africa,  an  elderly,  motherly  figure,  volun- 
teered to  lead  its  deputation  of  thirty  women  who 
were  to  carry  the  usual  resolution  to  the  House, 
whilst  Miss  Dora  Marsden,  B.A.,  of  Manchester, 
looking  exactly  like  a  Florentine  angel,  marched  be- 
fore with  a  purple-white-and-green  standard  an- 
nouncing the  arrival  of  the  deputation.  As  soon  as 
the  women  reached  the  street,  the  usual  pushing  and 
hustling  by  the  police  began,  and  after  an  hour's 
brave  struggle,  eleven  of  them  were  arrested.  Next 
day  nine  of  those  who  had  not  been  taken  again 
returned  to  the  charge,  and  eventually  the  twenty 
women  were  sent  to  prison  at  Sir  Albert  de  Rutzen's 
orders,  nineteen  of  them  for  one  month  and  Patricia 
,Woodlock,  because  she  had  served  several  sentences 
already,  for  three. 

On  April  i6th,  Mrs.  Pethick  Lawrence,  our  dear 
treasurer,  was  released,  and  we  were  able  to  tell  her 
that  no  less  than  £8,000  had  been  collected  by  the 
sacrifice  of  our  members  during  self-denial  week.  A 
great  procession  was  formed  in  her  honour  and 
marched  from  the  Marble  Arch  to  the  Aldwych 
Theatre,  where  she  was  to  speak.  What  a  day  it 
was  to  welcome  anyone  from  prison  1  The  trees 
were  just  bursting  into  leaf,  and  the  brilliant  April 
sunshine  glistened  on  the  silver  armour  of  Elsie 
Howey,  who  represented  Joan  of  Arc,  the  warrior 
maid,  whose  Beatification  was  taking  place  that  very 
day,  and  rode  at  the  head  of  the  procession,  astride 
her  great  white  charger,  with  the  brisk  wind  blowing 
back  her  fair  hair,  and  gaily  fluttering  the  purple- 
white-and-green  standard  which  she  bore.  Then 
came  women  and  girls  with  flowers  and  banners,  and 
Mrs,  Lawrence's  own  carriage  covered  with  flags, 


and  everywhere  were  the  purple-whlte-and-green 
colours,  except  at  one  point  where  the  American  dele- 
gates to  the  International  Women's  Suffrage  Con- 
gress, then  sitting  in  London,  rode  in  a  carriage 
draped  with  their  own  stars  and  stripes.  Inside  the 
theatre  the  platform  was  covered  with  flowers  sent 
by  hundreds  of  members  and  friends,  and  there  too 
the  American  delegates  had  added  their  tribute,  a 
little  silk  copy  of  their  national  flag. 

It  was  a  wonderful  speech  that  Mrs.  Lawrence 
then  delivered,  full,  not  only  of  enthusiasm  and  deep 
feeling,  but  of  logic  and  common  sense,  and  of  un- 
answerable arguments  for  the  women's  cause.  She 
reminded  us  that  she  and  her  fellow  Suffragists  had 
gone  to  prison  in  support  of  the  old  English  Con- 
stitutional maxim  that  taxation  and  representation 
should  go  together.  Before  she  had  gone  to  prison, 
she  told  us,  a  birthday  book  had  been  shown  to  her 
that  had  been  got  out  for  a  Church  bazaar.  In  that 
book  Mr.  Asquith  had  been  asked  to  write  his  fav- 
ourite quotation  with  his  signature,  and  this  fav- 
ourite quotation  of  Mr.  Asquith's  had  turned  out  to 
be,  "  Taxation  without  representation  is  tyranny." 
Many  stories  she  told  us  of  what  she  had  seen  and 
heard  in  prison.  One  morning  the  Chaplain  had 
come  into  the  hospital  where  she  was,  and  had  called 
up  an  old  woman  to  speak  to  him.  Everyone  there 
had  heard  the  conversation  that  passed  between  them, 
and  had  learnt  in  reply  to  his  peremptory  questioning 
her  name,  her  age,  the  length  of  her  sentence,  and 
so  on.  She  was  seventy-six,  unmarried,  and  for 
the  first  time  in  her  long  life  she  was  now  imprisoned 
because  she  could  not  pay  her  rent  and  taxes  £3  1 6s. 
"  I  keep  a  lodging  house  for  workingmen,"  she  said. 




JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  1909        369 

"  It  has  been  a  very  bad  winter  for  my  lodgers,  and 
they  have  not  been  able  to  pay  me."  "  This  woman 
was  quite  good  enough  to  pay  taxes,"  said  Mrs. 
Lawrence,  **  this  old  woman  of  seventy-six,  and  to  go 
to  prison  when  she  could  not  meet  the  taxes,  and  yet 
she  was  not  counted  fit  to  exercise  a  vote." 

Mrs.  Lawrence  also  told  us  of  a  conversation  be- 
tween herself  and  the  chaplain.  "  I  have  heard  a 
great  deal  of  you,  Mrs.  Lawrence,"  he  had  said. 
"  You  have  started  holiday  homes  for  girls.  I  wish 
you  would  start  a  holiday  home  for  wardresses. 
You  see  they  work  very  hard  —  twelve  hours  a  day. 
They  very  often  break  down,  and  then  they  have  not 
enough  money  to  go  away  for  a  holiday."  "  I 
looked  at  him  in  amazement,"  Mrs.  Lawrence  told 
us,  "  to  think  that  a  Government  servant  should 
come  to  me,  a  voteless  woman,  and  suggest  that  I 
should  supply  a  deficiency  created  because  our  legis- 
lators do  not  pay  their  women  servants  enough."  So 
argument  followed  argument,  and  there  were  many 
Suffragettes  who  joined  the  Union  on  that  day. 

Ever  since  the  night  on  which  the  members  of  the 
Freedom  League  had  chained  themselves  to  the  grille 
and  pieces  of  that  historic  monument  of  prejudice 
had  been  taken  down,  whilst  two  men  in  the 
Stranger's  Gallery  had  loudly  demanded  votes  for 
women,  the  galleries  had  been  closed  and  though 
Press  representatives  had  still  leave  to  come  and  go, 
as  far  as  the  general  public  was  concerned,  the  House 
had  sat  in  secret  conclave  for  six  months.  Mem- 
bers of  Parliament  found  the  exclusion  of  all  vis- 
itors to  the  House  to  be  exceedingly  inconvenient, 
and  at  last  the  Government  introduced  what  it  called 


a.  "  Brawling  Bill "  which  was  to  settle  the  question 
by  providing  that :  — 

Any  person,  not  being  a  member  of  either  House  of  Par- 
liament, while  present  in  the  Palace  of  Westminster  during 
the  sitting  of  either  House  who  is  guilty  of  disorderly  con- 
duct or  acts  in  contravention  of  any  rule  or  order  of  the 
House  in  respect  of  the  admission  of  strangers,  shall  be  guilty 
of  misdemeanour  and  liable  to  summary  conviction  and  im- 
prisonment for  a  term  not  exceeding  six  months  or  to  a  fine 
not  exceeding  £ioo. 

In  bringing  the  Bill  forward  the  Attorney  Gen- 
eral urged  that  though  the  House  could  already 
punish  strangers  who  broke  its  rules  by  committing 
them  to  Newgate  prison,  their  imprisonment  there 
could  only  last  whilst  the  House  was  sitting,  so  that 
those  who  committed  an  offence  towards  the  close  of 
the  session  would  be  too  easily  let  off.  Moreover  the 
House  had  not  the  power  to  punish  offenders  without 
debate  and  for  it  to  suspend  its  consideration  of 
"  high  matters  "  in  order  to  discuss  the  cases  of  per- 
sons, who,  though  he  declared  that  no  offence  could 
be  more  serious  than  theirs,  he  yet  characterised  as 
unworthy  in  themselves  of  **  further  consideration 
than  any  ordinary  police  magistrate  could  give  them,'* 
was  to  play  the  game  of  the  disturbers  and  to  give 
them  the  maximum  of  advertisement  with  the  mini- 
mum of  punishment.  When  someone  pointed  out 
that  all  accused  persons  liable  to  six  months'  impris- 
onment were  entitled  to  trial  by  jury,  he  at  once 
stated  that  he  should  prefer  to  reduce  the  proposed 
term  of  imprisonment  to  three  months.  Finally  he 
recommended  the  Bill  to  the  House  as  one  that  would 
"  save  its  time  and  safeguard  its  dignity." 

JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  1909        371 

Lord  Balcarres  urged  that  anyone  charged  under 
the  Bill  would  have  the  right  to  subpoena  the  Speaker 
or  the  Chairman  of  Committee  who  had  witnessed 
the  occurrence  complained  of  to  give  evidence  at  the 
trial.  It  would  be  impossible,  he  said,  to  say  that 
Mr.  Speaker  must  not  be  summoned  because  he  rep- 
resented "  the  quintessence  of  the  collective  wisdom 
of  the  House  of  Commons,"  and  "  it  would  be  a 
most  deplorable  thing  if  the  Speaker  and  other  offi- 
cials and  Members  of  the  House  were  to  be  hauled 
into  court  for  no  other  reason  than  to  draw  public 
attention  to  the  Police  Court  proceedings,  and  to 
make  sensational  paragraphs  in  the  evening  papers." 
Mr.  Mooney,  an  Irish  member,  said  amid  great 
laughter,  that  he  thought  the  Bill  must  have  been 
drafted  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Clement's  Inn,  be- 
cause of  the  advertisement  which  it  would  give  **  to 
certain  propagandists,"  whilst  Mr.  Hazleton  de- 
clared that  the  Government  were  merely  setting  up 
an  act  of  Parliament  '*  as  an  Aunt  Sally  for  every 
Suffragette  to  come  along  and  have  a  shot  at." 

Mr.  Keir  Hardie  stated  that  in  his  opinion  the 
Bill  was  only  necessary  because  of  the  failure  of 
members  of  the  Government,  and  Members  of  the 
House  to  redeem  their  election  pledges  in  regard  to 
Women's  Suffrage,  and  that  it  was  because  women 
felt  that  they  could  no  longer  appeal  to  the  honour 
of  the  House  of  Commons,  that  they  had  taken  to 
extreme  measures. 

In  his  reply  the  Attorney  General  ignored  this  lat- 
ter view  of  the  case,  but  dealt  at  length  with  the  right 
of  summoning  witnesses,  pointing  to  the  setting  aside 
of  the  subpoenas  to  Mr.  Asquith  and  Mr.  Herbert 
Gladstone,  in  the  case  of  Mrs.  Baines'  trial  at  Leeds, 


as  a  proof  that  this  could  easily  be  done  again  to 
protect  the  officers  of  the  House,  and  especially  the 
"  great  officers "  from  being  summoned.  He 
promised  that  stringent  provisions  with  this  object 
should  be  added  in  committee,  saying  "  I  do  not 
think  the  House  need  trouble  itself  with  that  objec- 

Evidently,  therefore,  the  gradual  sweeping  away 
of  every  safeguard  of  a  free  people  against  coercion, 
which  had  been  won  for  us  by  the  suffering  and  sac- 
rifice and  ceaseless  effort  of  generations  of  our  fore- 
bears, was  as  nothing  to  the  Government,  in  com- 
parison with  the  staving  off  of  the  Women's  claim  to 
vote.  Now  it  was  one  of  the  fundamental  rights 
of  the  accused  person  that  they  were  proposing  to 
tamper  with,  but  the  House  would  not  agree.  Sir 
Edward  Carson,  whilst  expressing  doubt  as  to  the 
practicability  of  the  Government's  proposals,  pro- 
tested emphatically  against  the  suggestion  that  ther^ 
should  be  a  law  of  subpoena  for  the  House  of  Com- 
mons different  to  that  which  prevailed  in  the  rest 
of  the  land.  Finally  the  Prime  Minister  rose  to  say 
that  though,  after  the  trouble  that  had  been  taken  in 
drafting  it,  he  did  not  like  to  withdraw  the  Bill  al- 
together, he  yet  thought  that  further  time  should  be 
given  for  consideration,  and  that  the  debate  should 
be  adjourned. 

The  Brawling  Bill  was  never  heard  of  again.  Its 
final  death-blow  was  dealt  on  April  27th,  exactly 
a  week  after  it  had  been  discussed,  when  five  Suffra- 
gettes  effectively  showed  that  no  threat  of  a  Brawling 
Bill  could  prevent  them  from  demonstrating  in  the 
House  of  Commons  by  entering  St.  Stephen's  Hall 
and  chaining  themselves  to  the  statues  of  five  men  — 

JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  igog        373 

Walpole,  Lord  Somers,  Selden,  and  Lord  Falkland, 
whose  names  are  famous  in  the  struggle  for  British 
Liberties  in  Stuart  days.  Having  so  chained  them- 
selves, the  women  addressed  the  visitors  and  Mem- 
bers of  Parliament,  explaining  that  they  themselves 
were  engaged  in  fighting  for  the  liberties  of  one- 
half  of  the  British  people.  With  strong  pincers  the 
police  succeeded  in  breaking  the  chains,  but  there 
was  no  prosecution  and  shortly  afterwards  the 
Speaker  announced  that  both  the  Ladies'  and  Stran- 
gers' Galleries  were  to  be  reopened  on  certain  condi- 
tions. Before  being  admitted  each  visitor  must  now 
subscribe  his  or  her  name  and  address  to  the  follow- 
ing printed  pledge : 

I  undertake  to  abstain  from  making  any  interruption  or 
disturbance  and  to  obey  the  rules  for  the  maintenance  of 
order  in  the  Galleries. 

Having  signed  the  pledge,  men  visitors  were  to 
be  absolutely  trusted,  but  women  were  treated  as 
having  absolutely  no  sense  of  honour,  for  no  woman 
was  to  be  permitted  to  get  even  so  far  as  the  signing 
of  the  pledge,  unless  she  happened  to  be  related  to 
a  Member  of  Parliament  and  no  Member  was  to  be 
allowed  to  introduce  any  lady  to  the  gallery  unless 
he  had  previously  won  a  place  for  her  in  the  ballot. 

On  May  13th,  the  Women's  Social  and  Political 
Union  opened  in  the  Prince's  Skating  Rink,  Knights- 
bridge,  a  Votes  for  Women  Exhibition  in  the 
purple,  white  and  green.  Mrs.  Lawrence  and  the 
Committee  of  the  Union  were  driven  thither  by  a 
woman  chauffeur  in  a  motor  car  for  which  the  Suffra- 
gettes had  subscribed  in  order  that  they  might  present 


It  to  the  Treasurer  on  her  release  from  prison. 
The  Rink  was  covered  outside  with  a  mass  of  waving 
flags  in  the  colours,  and  inside  these  also  pre- 
dominated. The  theme  of  the  decorations  which 
lined  the  walls  of  the  great  central  hall  was  "  They 
that  sow  in  tears  shall  reap  in  joy  and  he  that 
goeth  forth  and  weepeth  bearing  precious  seed,  shall 
doubtless  come  again  with  rejoicing,  bringing  his 
sheaves  with  him."  And  indeed  in  those  bright 
spring  days  at  the  Skating  Rink,  though  the  vic- 
tory of  the  franchise  was  not  yet  won,  some  of  the 
fruits  of  the  struggle  were  already  present  in  the 
glad  comradeship  of  the  workers.  Everyone 
seemed  to  be  full  of  high  spirits,  and  all  were  keenly 
interested  in  the  success  of  the  enterprise  and,  in 
spite  of  the  strenuous  militant  tactics  in  which  they 
were  engaged  and  of  all  the  propaganda  work  which 
they  were  accomplishing,  every  branch  of  the  Union 
and  every  organising  centre,  had  its  stall  laden  with 
goods.  Friends  from  all  over  the  world  had  sent 
their  contributions,  and  the  Norwegian  delegates  to 
the  International  Suffrage  Congress  had  a  stall  of 
their  own  in  aid  of  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  funds. 

But  this  was  no  mere  bazaar,  for  at  every  turn  one 
was  reminded  of  Votes  for  Women.  Each  day  as  one 
entered,  a  ballot  paper  was  always  pressed  into  one's 
hand  and  every  visitor  to  the  exhibition  was  invited 
to  record  a  vote  upon  some  question  of  the  moment ; 
the  ballot  box  and  everything  connected  with  the 
voting  being  arranged  just  exactly  as  it  is  in  Par- 
liamentary Elections.  At  one  end  of  the  hall  was  a 
facsimile  of  a  prison  cell,  in  which  sat  a  woman  in 
second  division  prison  dress  who  herself  had  actu- 
ally been  to  HoUoway  and  could  explain   exactly 

JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  1909        375 

how  the  bed  was  rolled  and  the  tins  were  cleaned. 
Side  by  side  with  this  was  the  sort  of  cell 
which  may  be  occupied  by  men  political  prisoners. 
Ranged  along  one  wall  were  glass  cases  containing 
clever  little  cartoon  models,  prepared  by  sculptors 
in  the  Union  and  showing  numerous  representations 
of  Cabinet  Ministers  in  their  various  encounters  with 
the  Suffragettes.  Amongst  a  host  of  others,  there 
was  Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  her  deputation  at  the  door 
of  the  House  of  Commons  with  the  Cabinet  Min- 
isters hiding  fearfully  behind  a  group  of  stalwart 

Then  there  was  a  picture  gallery  of  Press  photo- 
graphs showing  the  history  of  the  militant  movement, 
and  there  were  entertainments,  all  about  Votes  for 
Women,  by  those  ardent  Suffragists,  the  members  of 
the  Actresses  Franchise  League. 

The  exhibition  lasted  a  fortnight,  and  at  the  end 
of  the  first  week,  came  a  great  surprise,  for  a 
women's  drum  and  fife  band,  consisting  of  members 
of  our  Union,  who  had  been  practising  in  secret  for 
months  past,  now  dressed  in  a  specially  designed  uni- 
form of  purple,  white  and  green,  formed  up  in  the 
centre  of  the  rink  and  with  Mrs.  Leigh  as  Drum 
Major,  marched  out  playing  the  **  Marseillaise,"  and 
then  went  round  the  town  to  advertise  the  exhibi- 

Hundreds  of  new  members  were  made  during  the 
fortnight,  and  perhaps  the  smallest  part  of  the  whole 
achievement  was  that  £5,564  was  added  to  the 
W.  S.  P.  U.  campaign  fund.  Altogether  it  was  de- 
cided that  the  Exhibition  in  the  Colours  was  the 
smartest,  brightest  and  cheeriest  exhibition  that  any- 
one   had    ever    seen.     Strangers    visiting    it    isaid. 


"  What  happy  women  you  Suffragettes  are ;  we  never 
thought  you  were  like  that!  "  To  those  who  read 
of  this  movement  in  future  years  it  may  seem  strange 
that,  in  spite  of  the  unremitting  character  of  the 
struggle  the  Suffragettes,  when  not  actually  engaged 
in  the  fighting  line,  should  have  been  so  generally 
merry  and  light  hearted.  W.  D.  Howells,  in  his 
Venetian  Life,  and  others,  tell  us  that  whilst  Venice 
was  dominated  by  Austria  the  whole  town  was  under 
a  cloud;  the  Italians  gave  no  balls,  dinners  or 
entertainments,  and  even  the  great  Opera  House 
was  closed.  But  the  attitude  of  the  Suffragettes  was 
perhaps  more  in  keeping  with  the  English  character. 
Have  we  not  heard  that  though  the  Spanish  Armada 
had  long  been  expected,  Drake  and  the  other  great 
sea  fighters  were  playing  bowls  when  the  news  came 
that  it  was  in  sight?  And  now,  whilst  the  Exhibi- 
tion ^  was  in  progress  the  fighting  campaign  was 
going  forward  all  over  the  country  as  briskly  as 

The  protests  in  connection  with  Cabinet  Ministers' 
meetings  continued  almost  daily  and,  whilst  the 
strictest  precautions  were  taken  to  keep  them  out, 
the  greatest  ingenuity  was  displayed  by  them  in  ob- 
taining an  entry.  At  a  meeting  of  Mr.  Birrel's  in 
the  Colston  Hall,  Bristol,  two  women  were  found 
to  have  hidden  themselves  amongst  the  pipes  of  the 
organ.  When  the  same  Minister  spoke  with  Lord 
Crew  at  Liverpool,  Mary  Phillips,  who  had  lain 
crouching  for  twenty-four  hours  amid  the  dust  and 
grime  in  a  narrow  space  under  the  organ,  was  there 
to  remind  them  of  Patricia  Woodlock,  the  Liverpool 

1  The  Freedom  League  had  also  held  a  successful  and  inter- 
esting Green  White  and  Gold  Fair  at  the  Caxton  Hall. 

The  band  out  for  the  first  ti 

JANUARY  TO  MARCH,  1909        377 

Suffragette,  who  was  then  serving  a  sentence  of  three 
months'  imprisonment  in  HoUoway  gaol. 

Meanwhile  during  the  spring  of  1909,  eight  by- 
election  contests  had  been  fought  at  Glasgow, 
Hawick  Burghs,  Forfar,  South  Edinburgh,  Croydon, 
East  Edinburgh,  the  Attercliffe  Division  of  Shef- 
field, and  Stratford-on-Avon. 

The  Scotch  constituencies,  with  the  exception  of 
Glasgow,  which  is  not  typically  Scotch,  were  the  most 
difficult  to  fight,  for  the  majority  of  the  Scotch  peo- 
ple have  long  been  so  rootedly  Liberal  that  a  very 
exceptional  degree,  not  only  of  sympathy  with  the 
cause  but  of  belief  in  the  by-election  policy,  was 
needed  to  induce  any  of  the  electors  to  alter  their 
old  allegiance,  and  tp  allow  a  Conservative  to  be 
returned.  Nevertheless  the  Liberal  majority  was 
in  every  case  reduced.  In  Glasgow  the  seat  which 
had  been  held  by  a  Liberal  was  wrested  from 
the  Government  by  a  Liberal  majority  of  21 13. 
At  Croydon  the  Liberal  Candidate  was  also  defeated 
by  a  greatly  increased  majority,  for  whilst  in 
the  general  election  it  had  been  638  it  was  now 
3,948.  The  elections  at  Attercliffe  and  Stratford- 
on-Avon  were  perhaps  the  most  striking  of  the 
series.  In  the  former  contest  the  Liberals  strove  to 
counteract  the  Suffragette  influence  in  numerous  ways, 
including  the  issuing  of  leaflets  with  such  headings  as, 
COUNTER."  In  these  documents  they  tried  to 
lead  the  public  to  think  that  the  police,  and  not  the 
Government  in  power,  were  responsible  for  the  Suf- 
fragist   imprisonments.     When    the    result    of    the 


polling  was  made  known,  it  was  found  that  the 
Liberal  nominee  had  been  placed  third  on  the  poll, 
having  secured  less  than  half  the  votes  which  had 
been  cast  for  his  party  in  the  last  election. 

At  Stratford-on-Avon,  another  Liberal  seat,  the 
Government  candidate  was  again  routed,  this  time 
by  a  majority  of  2,627  votes. 


JUNE  AND  JULY,  1909 

The  Ninth  Women's  Parliament.  Attempt  to  In- 
sist ON  THE  Constitutional  Right  of  Petition  as 
Secured  by  the  Bill  of  Rights.  Arrest  of  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  and  the  Hon.  Mrs.  Haverfield.  Miss 
Wallace  Dunlop  and  the  Hunger  Strike.  The 
Fourteen  Hunger  Strikers  in  the  Punishment 
Cells.  Mr.  Gladstone  Charges  Miss  Garnett 
WITH  Having  Bitten  a  Wardress.     Her  Acquittal. 

When  the  authorities  had  first  raised  the  threat 
of  punishing  women  under  the  Statute  thirteen, 
Charles  II,  for  proceeding  to  Parliament  in  a  body 
of  more  than  twelve  persons  with  the  object  of  pre- 
senting a  petition  to  the  Prime  Minister,  the  Suffra- 
gettes had  decided  to  defy  the  Statute.  We  were 
indignant  at  the  proposal  to  enforce  against  us  in  the 
supposed  free  and  enlightened  days  of  the  twentieth 
century,  a  coercive  law  passed  in  a  bygone  time  of 
great  upheaval  and  of  great  tyranny.  Moreover 
the  police  authorities  had  stated  that  if  tried  under 
this  Statute  of  Charles  II  the  Suffragette  cases  must 
be  decided  by  a  judge  and  jury  instead  of  being 
hustled  through  the  Police  Court.  Deputation  after 
deputation  of  more  than  twelve  women  had  there- 
fore gone  forth  but  though  these  women  had  again 
and  again  been  seized  and  imprisoned  for  periods  as 
long  as  that  prescribed  by  that  Act,  the  authorities 



still  did  not  charge  them  under  the  Act  of  Charles 

At  last,  as  the  seriousness  of  the  whole  position 
grew,  our  committee  decided  that  It  would  be 
wisest  to  comply  with  the  very  letter  of  the  law  and 
to  stand  on  the  constitutional  right  of  the  subject  to 
petition  the  Prime  Minister  as  the  seat  of  power. 
We  were  advised  that  the  right  of  petition,  which 
had  been  to  some  extent  limited  by  the  Act  of 
Charles  II,  had  existed  from  time  Immemorial.  It 
had  been  confirmed  by  the  Bill  of  Rights  which  be- 
came law  In  1869,  at  the  beginning  of  the  joint 
reigns  of  William  and  Mary,  as  one  of  the  securi- 
ties for  the  liberties  of  the  British  people,  the  com- 
plete preservation  of  which  had  been  a  condition  of 
the  accession  of  that  King  and  Queen.  The  Bill  of 
Rights  declares  that:  "  It  Is  the  right  of  the  sub- 
ject to  petition  the  King  and  all  commitments,  and 
prosecutions  for  such  petitioning  are  illegal."  As 
the  power  of  the  King  had  now  for  all  prac- 
tical purposes  passed  Into  the  hands  of  Parliament, 
the  Prime  Minister,  as  the  chief  Parliamentary  offi- 
cial, had  become  the  King's  representative  and  there- 
fore the  right  to  petition  the  Prime  Minister  clearly 
belonged  to  each  and  every  member  of  the 'Com- 
munity. This  right,  though  It  should  always  be 
zealously  guarded.  Is  of  course  most  essential  In  the 
case  of  persons  placed  outside  of  the  pale  of  the 

A  ninth  Women's  Parliament  having  been  called, 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  wrote  to  Mr.  Asquith  stating  that 
a  deputation  from  the  Women's  Parliament  would 
wait  upon  him  at  the  House  of  Commons  at  eight 
o'clock  on  the  evening  of  June  29th.     She  Informed 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  igog  381 

him  further  that  the  deputation  could  accept  no  re- 
fusal and  must  insist  upon  their  constitutional  right 
to  be  received. 

The  Prime  Minister  returned  a  formal  refusal  to 
receive  them  but  the  women  proceeded  with  their 

On  Tuesday,  June  21st,  exactly  a  week  before  the 
day  fixed  for  the  Women's  Parliament,  Miss  Wal- 
lace Dunlop,  visited  the  House  of  Commons  with 
a  gentleman  who  left  her  and  went  on  into  the  lobby 
to  interview  a  member  of  Parliament.  She  passed 
into  St.  Stephen's  Hall  and  sitting  down  on  one  of 
the  seats  there,  unfolded  a  large  block  covered  with 
printers'  ink.  She  was  pressing  this  block  to  the 
stone  wall,  when  a  policeman  rushed  up,  and  dragged 
her  hurriedly  away,  but  there  remained  displayed 
upon  the  wall  the  words: 

JUNE  29th. 


It  is  the  right  of  the  Subject  to 
petition  the  King  and  all  commit- 
ments and  Prosecutions  for  such 
petitioning  are  illegal. 

Miss  Wallace  Dunlop  was  taken  to  the  police  In- 
spector's office  opening  out  of  the  Palace  Yard,  but, 
after  an  impression  of  her  notice  had  been  solemnly 
made  on  a  sheet  of  blotting  paper,  she  was  allowed 
to  go.  She  had  been  pulled  away  too  speedily  to 
look  at  her  own  handiwork  in  St.  Stephen's  Hall, 


and  the  policemen  told  her  that  it  was  "  only  a 
smudge."  Two  days  later,  therefore,  she  sqt  out 
to  make  a  second  attempt  to  stamp  on  the  wall  of 
St.  Stephen's  her  reminder  to  Parliament  that  the 
people's  liberties  must  not  be  violated.  She  was  able 
to  carefully  affix  her  notice  before  a  policeman  ap- 
peared, but  she  was  not  to  be  let  off  this  time.  On 
June  22nd  she  was  tried  for  wilfully  and  maliciously 
damaging  the  stone-work  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons. She  urged  in  her  defence  that  any  damage 
which  she  had  caused  by  affixing  the  notice  was 
entirely  outweighed  by  the  great  constitutional  issue 
which  it  had  been  her  intention  to  Impress  upon 
the  Members  of  the  House  of  Commons.  "  It  is 
claimed  by  the  prosecution,"  she  said,  "  that  it  cost 
ten  shillings  to  erase  the  Impression  of  the  first 
notice  and  that  It  will  cost  probably  a  similar  sum 
to  wipe  out  the  second.  It  seems  to  me  that  it 
would  have  been  better  If  the  authorities  had  spent 
no  money  at  all  but  had  let  the  impression  stay." 
She  was  found  guilty  and  ordered  either  to  pay  a 
fine  of  £5  and  £1.  i.  2  damages  or  in  default  to 
undergo  one  month's  imprisonment  in  the  third  di- 
vision without  hard  labour. 

Meanwhile  very  great  interest  had  been  aroused 
in  the  attempt  of  the  Suffragettes  to  force  the  Prime 
Minister  to  receive  them  by  Constitutional  means. 
There  was  keen  discussion  as  to  what  would  happen 
and,  when  the  fateful  Tuesday  came,  vast  throngs  of 
people,  greater  perhaps  than  at  any  other  demonstra- 
tion, lined  the  streets  In  the  neighbourhood  of  Par- 
liament. In  the  House  of  Commons  itself  there 
was  a  strong  feeling  that  the  deputation  should  be 
received  and  this  was  expressed  at  question  time  by 

Christabel  waving  to  the  hunger  strikers   from  a  house 
overlooking  the  prison,  July,  1909 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  1909  383 

many  Members.  Mr.  Keir  Hardie  asked  the 
Speaker  whether  it  was  by  his  instructions  tha^t  a 
deputation  of  eight  or  nine  ladies  was  to  be  pi'o- 
hibited  from  entering  the  House,  but  Mr.  Speaker 
replied  that  this  was  the  first  he  had  heard  of  it  and 
that  he  had  issued  no  instructions.  When  the  same 
question  was  put  to  the  Home  Secretary  he  also  an- 
swered, "  I  gave  no  instructions,"  and  declared  that 
it  was  the  police  who  had  the  responsibility  of  keep- 
ing the  approaches  of  the  House  open.  Mr.  Hugh 
Law  asked  leave  to  move  the  adjournment  of  the 
House  on  a  matter  of  urgent  public  importance, 
namely,  the  refusal  of  the  Prime  Minister  to  receive 
the  deputation  and  the  consequent  grave  and  im- 
mediate danger  to  the  public  peace,  but  the  Speaker 
refused,  saying  that  the  question  had  been  before 
the  House  for  at  least  two  years.  Mr.  Keir  Hardie 
then  asked  if  the  Home  Secretary  would  give  in- 
structions that  so  long  as  the  deputation  was  orderly 
it  should  be  admitted  to  St.  Stephen's  but  Mr.  Glad- 
stone refused  to  accept  responsibility,  saying,  '*  I  can- 
not say  what  action  will  be  right  or  wrong  for  the 
police  to  take." 

At  half  past  seven  the  Women's  Parliament  met 
and  a  Petition  to  the  Prime  Minister  having  been 
adopted  Mrs.  Pankhurst,  Mrs.  Saul  Solomon  of 
South  Africa,  Miss  Neligan  who  from  1874  to  1901 
had  been  head  mistress  of  the  Croydon  Girls'  School 
and  was  now  76,  and  five  other  women  were  duly 
appointed  to  present  it  straightway.  Then  Miss 
Vera  Holme  was  dispatched  on  horseback  with  an 
advance  letter  announcing  that  the  deputation  was 
about  to  appear.  With  all  possible  speed  she  rode 
on,  forging  her  way  through  the  masses  of  people, 


until,  close  to  the  House  itself,  she  was  met  by  a 
body  of  mounted  police,  who  demanded  her  busi- 
ness. She  handed  the  letter  for  Mr.  Asquith  to  the 
Inspector  but  he  merely  flung  it  on  the  ground  where 
it  was  lost  to  sight  amongst  the  crowd.  ^ 

Meanwhile  the  little  deputation  of  eight  women 
were  preparing  to  leave  the  Caxton  Hall  and  the 
Women's  Drum  and  Fife  Band  ranged  up  the  steps 
was  playing  out  to  them  the  Marseillaise.  The 
shrill,  shrill  notes  of  the  fife,  were  a  call  to  battle, 
the  heart  beat  quicker  in  unison  with  that  drum- 
ming and  the  breath  came  hard  and  short.  On  the 
deputation  went  whilst  the  cheers  of  their  comrades 
mingled  with  the  deeper  answering  cheer  of  the 
crowd  outside.  On  they  went  up  Victoria  Street 
and  all  the  way  from  the  masses  who  watched  them 
was  heard  no  single  cry  against  them,  nothing  but 
one  great  cheer.  They  pressed  on,  first  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst  in  her  light  coat,  then  the  two  little  old  ladies 
and  the  other  women  following  behind,  but  just  at 
the  corner  of  St.  Margaret's  Church  a  long  line  of 
police  on  horse  and  foot  blocked  the  road.  For  a 
moment  there  was  a  strange  pause  and  the  crowd 
was  hushed.  Then  the  police  lines  opened  and  the 
deputation  passed  through  to  the  clear  space  around 
the  House.  The  crowd  cheered  and  they  were  lost 
to  sight. 

Everyone  believed  that  the  women  were  to  be  re- 
ceived. But  St.  Stephen's  was  closely  guarded  by 
police  and,  as  the  deputation  reached  it.  Chief  In- 
spector Scantlebury  stepped  forward  and  handed  a 
letter  to  Mrs.  Pankhurst.     She  opened  it  and  read 

^  It    was    afterwards    brought   back   to    Clement's    Inn    by    a 
stranger  who  found  it  still  unopened. 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  igog  385 

aloud :  "  The  Prime  Minister,  for  the  reasons  which 
he  has  already  given  in  a  written  reply  to  their  re- 
quest, regrets  that  he  is  unable  to  receive  the  pro- 
posed deputation."  Then  she  let  the  missive  fall 
to  the  ground  and  said,  "  I  stand  upon  my  right  as 
a  subject  of  the  King  to  petition  the  Prime  Minister. 
I  am  firmly  resolved  to  stand  here  until  I  am  re- 
ceived," but,  even  whilst  she  was  speaking,  Inspector 
Scantlebury  turned  away  —  he  would  not  wait  to 
hear  her  statement.  She  called  to  him  to  stay  and 
pleaded  with  the  bystanders.  Members  of  Parliament 
and  others,  to  bring  him  back  to  listen  but  he  disap- 
peared through  the  door  of  the  Stranger's  Entrance. 

Then  Mrs.  Pankhurst  turned  to  Inspector  Jarvis, 
appealing  to  him,  or  to  anyone,  to  take  her  message 
to  the  Prime  Minister,  but  she  was  merely  told  to 
go  away.  "  I  absolutely  refuse,"  she  said,  and  the 
other  ladies  chimed  in,  "  We  absolutely  support  Miss 
Pankhurst."  At  tnat,  whilst  the  rows  of  Members 
of  Parliament  policemen  and  newspaper  reporters 
looked  on  with  interest.  Inspector  Jarvis  seized  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  by  the  arm  and  began  to  push  her  away. 

There  was  no  hope  now  that  the  deputation  would 
be  received  and  she  well  knew  that  if  the  women 
persisted  in  their  demand  to  enter  the  House  they 
would  be  arrested  in  the  end.  For  the  sake  of  their 
cause  neither  she  nor  they  could  ever  consent  volun- 
tarily to  retrace  their  steps.  They  must  refuse  to 
go  and  when,  as  they  would  be,  they  were  forced 
rudely  back,  they  must  return  again  and  again  until 
they  could  do  so  no  longer  because  they  had  been 
placed  under  arrest.  This  would  mean  a  hard  and 
a  long  struggle,  for  the  police  would  first  try  every 
other  means  to  overcome  them.  She  knew  that  in 



a  moment  the  violence  would  begin  and  that  the 
frail  old  ladies  behind  her  would  he  hustled  and 
jostled  and  thrust  ignominiously  aside.  And  so,  not 
for  herself,  for  she  had  borne  this  sort  of  thing  be- 
fore, but  to  save  these  older  women  from  ill-usage, 
she  committed  a  technical  assault  on  Inspector 
Jarvis,  striking  him  lightly  on  the  cheek  with  her 
open  hand.  As  she  did  so,  he  said,  "  I  know  why 
you  have  done  that."  But  one  blow  was  not  enough 
for  the  police  began  to  seize  the  other  women  and 
the  pushing  and  hustling  began.  Then  she  said, 
"Must  I  do  It  again?"  and  Inspector  Jarvis  an- 
swered, "  Yes."  At  that,  she  struck  him  again  on 
the  other  cheek  and  he  said:  "  Take  them  in,"  and 
the  eight  women  were  placed  under  arrest  and  led 

Meanwhile  the  people  outside  the  police  lines  had 
waited  patiently  until  at  last  J:he  news  filtered 
through  that  the  deputation  had  not  been  received. 
Then  suddenly  a  woman  was  seen  struggling  through, 
the  crowd  bearing  the  colours.  Cheers  were  raised 
at  the  sight  and  policemen  rushed  towards  her. 
This  was  the  signal  for  a  general  attempt  on  the 
part  of  the  Suffragettes  to  reach  the  House  of  Com- 
mons and  in  ever  recurring  batches  of  twelve,  that 
only  too  soon  were  to  be  torn  asunder,  the  women 
bravely  but  hopelessly  pressed  on;  whilst  more  than 
it  had  ever  done  before  the  crowd  showed  a  disposi- 
tion to  help  them  and  to  prevent  their  arrest. 

But  Parliament  went  on  as  though  nothing  were 
happening  and  when  a  man  in  the  Central  Lobby- 
suddenly  shouted,  "  The  women  of  England  are 
clamouring  outside,"  he  was  at  once  seized  by 
numbers    of    bystanders    and    police    and    bundled 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  igog  387 

through  the  door.  Then  tranquillity  reigned  once 
more.  It  turned  out  that  the  interrupter  was  Mr. 
Lawrence  Housman,  the  well-known  writer  and 

At  nine  o'clock  a  great  force  of  mounted  police 
cleared  the  Square,  beating  the  people  back  into 
Victoria  Street,  into  Parliament  Street,  across  West- 
minster Bridge  or  along  Millbank.  It  was  a  fa- 
miliar stratagem  and,  as  on  so  many  other  similar 
occasions,  Parliament  Square  was  soon  a  desert. 
But  now  a  strange  thing  happened,  for  little  groups 
of  women,  six  or  seven  at  a  time,  kept  issuing  from 
no  one  knew  where,  and  making  determined  rushes 
for  the  House.  As  a  matter  of  fact  the  W.  S.  P.  U. 
had  hired  thirty  different  offices  in  the  Square  for 
that  night  and  in  these  offices  women  lay  concealed 
and  dashed  out  at  preconcerted  moments. 

Whilst  this  was  happening  in  the  Square  other 
Suffragettes  succeeded  in  carrying  out  a  time-honoured 
means  of  showing  political  contempt  by  breaking  the 
windows  of  the  official  residence  of  the  first  Lord  of 
the  Admiralty,  and  of  the  Home  Office,  the  Privy 
Council  Office  and  the  Treasury  Offices  in  Whitehall. 
Having  gone  just  after  dusk,  when  the  lights  are 
lit  in  rooms  where  people  are,  they  chose  windows 
on  the  ground  floor  that  were  still  dark.  Then  to 
small  stones,  around  which  were  wrapped  petitions, 
they  tied  string,  and,  holding  fast  to  the  end  of  the 
string,  they  struck  the  stones  against  the  windows, 
and,  having  thus  made  holes,  dropped  them  through. 
So  they  accomplished  their  purpose  without  the  risk 
of  injuring  anyone.  One  hundred  and  eight  women 
were  at  last  taken  into  custody. 

Long  accounts  of  the  affair  appeared  in  the  Press 


next  morning  and  these  were  on  the  whole  very  much 
more  favourable  to  the  women  than  any  that  had 
gone  before,  as  the  following  gleanings  from  some 
of  the  papers  indicate : 

The  record  of  these  attempted  raids  has  been  one  of  re- 
markable persistency  in  the  face  of  every  possible  discour- 
agement from  the  authorities. —  Daily  Telegraph. 

The  same  paper  also  published  a  humorous  pen-and- 
ink  drawing  of  a  mounted  policeman,  four  constables 
and  an  inspector  marching  off  to  prison  the  tiny  figure 
of  Miss  Neligan  with  the  inscription,  "  Seventy-nine 
years  old!    Liberal  treatment." 

It  IS  the  most  successful  effort  that  the  militant  section 
of  the  party  have  made.  .  .  .  However  much  one  may 
deplore  their  methods  one  cannot  overlook  their  earnestness ; 
they  are  out  to  win. —  The  Scotsman. 

Principle  and  tact  alike  are  wanting  in  the  Asquith  ad- 
ministration, otherwise  there  would  have  been  none  of  the 
suffragette  scenes  in  to-day's  police  court,  and  none  of  the 
tumult  and  expense  of  last  night.  .  •  •  No  one  supposes 
for  a  moment  that  such  a  large  and  influential  body  as  the 
Suffragettes  would  have  been  denied  a  hearing  by  Mr.  As- 
quith and  his  colleagues  had  it  possessed  voting  power. — 
The  Manchester  Courier. 

It  is  not  likely  that  any  one  of  the  thousands  of  men  and 
women  who  saw  the  Suffragist  deputation  to  Mr.  Asquith 
to  the  House  of  Commons  on  Tuesday  night  will  ever  for- 
get the  scene,  much  as  he  or  she  may  wish  to  do  so.  There 
are  some  things  which  photograph  themselves  indelibly  on 
the  sensitive  plate  of  the  brain  and  that  was  one  of  them. 
.     .     . —  East  Anglican  Daily  Times. 

The  Prime  Minister  has  shockingly  mismanaged  the  busi- 
ness from  the  beginning. —  Yorkshire  Weekly  Post. 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  1909  389 

There  is  some  concern  among  liberals  at  the  Prime  Min- 
ister's persistent  refusal  to  receive  a  deputation  from  the 
Suffragists.  They  doubt  if  he  is  wise  in  showing  so  un- 
yielding an  attitude  to  them. —  Manchester  Daily 

As  the  deputation  of  women  had  complied  with 
the  very  letter  of  the  law,  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  determined 
to  prove,  if  possible,  that  the  Government  had  broken 
the  law  in  refusing  to  allow  them  to  present  their 
petition.  Mr.  Henle  was  retained  to  deal  with  the 
legal  aspect  of  the  case  and  he  pressed  home  his  con- 
tention with  so  many  forceful  arguments  that  when 
he  had  finished  Mr.  Muskett  who  was  conducting 
the  case  for  the  prosecution,  asked  to  be  allowed 
time  to  prepare  an  answer. 

When  the  case  was  continued  on  Friday,  July 
9th,  a  sensation  was  created  by  the  discovery  that 
Lord  Robert  Cecil  had  been  retained  to  defend 
the  case  of  Mrs.  Haverfield  upon  which  all  the 
others  hung.  Mr.  Muskett  now  began  by  suggest- 
ing that  the  women  had  had  no  intention  of 
presenting  a  petition  and  that  the  claim  that  they 
had  gone  to  the  House  of  Commons  in  the  en- 
deavour to  do  so  was  an  afterthought,  got  up  for 
the  purposes  of  the  defence.  He  was  soon  obliged 
to  abandon  this  line  of  attack  for  the  speeches 
and  articles  of  the  leaders,  the  leaflets  published  by 
them  and  the  official  letters  of  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  to 
Mr.  Asquith,  together  with  the  fact  that  each  mem- 
ber of  the  deputation  had  carried  a  copy  of  the 
petition,  clearly  demonstrated  the  absurdity  of  this 
contention.  The  whole  case  as  to  the  right  of  peti- 
tion and  of  the  way  in  which  that  right  should  be 
exercised  was  then  discussed,  first  by  Mr.  Muskett 


and  then  by  Lord  Robert  Cecil.  Afterwards  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  quietly  told  her  own  story  of  the  hap- 
penings on  June  29th.  In  conclusion  she  said  to 
Sir  Albert  de  Rutzen,  *'  I  want  to  say  to  you  here, 
standing  in  this  dock,  that  if  you  deal  with  us  as 
you  have  dealt  with  other  women  on  similar 
occasions,  the  same  experience  will  be  gone  through ; 
we  shall  refuse  to  agree  to  be  bound  over  because 
we  cannot  in  honour  consent  to  such  a  course  and  we  , 

shall  go  to  prison  to  suffer  whatever  awaits  us  there, 
but  in  future,  we  shall  refuse  to  conform  any  longer 
to  the  regulations  of  the  prison.  There  are  108  of 
us  here  to-day  and  just  as  we  have  thought  It  our 
duty  to  defy  the  police  in  the  streets,  so,  when  we  get 
into  prison,  as  we  are  political  prisoners,  we  shall  do 
our  very  best  to  bring  back  into  the  twentieth  century 
the  treatment  of  political  prisoners  which  was 
thought  right  in  the  case  of  William  Cobbett  and 
other  political  offenders  of  his  time." 

Then  looking  rather  pained  and  blinking  his  eyes 
very  nervously,  the  amiable-looking  elderly  magis- 
trate proceeded  to  give  his  decision.  He  said  that 
whilst  he  agreed  with  Lord  Robert  Cecil  and  Mr. 
Henle  that  the  right  of  petition  clearly  belonged  to 
every  subject,  he  yet  thought  that  when  the  police 
had  refused  permission  to  enter  the  House,  and  when 
the  Prime  Minister  had  said  that  he  would  not  receive 
the  deputation,  the  women  had  acted  wrongly  in  re- 
fusing to  go  away.  He  should  therefore  fine  them 
£5  and  if  they  refused  to  pay,  should  send  them  to 
prison  for  one  month  in  the  second  division.  This 
punishment  should  not  take  Immediate  effect  because 
he  understood  that  he  was  desired  to  **  state  a  case  " 
upon  the  legal  point  as  to  the  right  of  petition,  and 



I  I 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  jgog  391 

as  he  was  quite  prepared  to  do  this,  the  matter 
would  be  taken  to  a  higher  court  for  further  con- 

Mrs.  Pankhurst  then  claimed  that  the  charges 
against  every  one  of  her  fellow  prisoners  should  be 
held  over  until  her  own  case  had  been  finally  decided 
as  they  all  turned  on  the  same  point.  This  was 
agreed  to  except  in  regard  to  the  fourteen  women 
charged  with  stone-throwing  and  attempted  rescue, 
who  on  Monday,  July  12th,  were  tried  and  sent  to 
prison  for  periods  varying  from  one  month  to  six 

And  now  the  evening  paper  placards  were  an- 
nouncing a  strange  thing  that  had  been  taking 
place  in  HoUoway  gaol.  Miss  Wallace  Dunlop, 
who  had  gone  alone  to  prison,  had  set  herself  to 
wrest  from  the  government  the  political  treatment 
which  her  comrades  demanded,  and  had  seized  upon 
a  terrible  but  most  powerful  means  of  attaining  her 
object.  On  arriving  in  prison  on  Friday  evening, 
July  2nd,  she  had  at  once  claimed  to  be  treated  as  a 
political  offender,  and,  when  this  had  been  denied, 
she  warned  the  Governor  that  she  should  refuse  to 
eat  anything  until  she  had  gained  her  point.  On 
Monday  morning  she  put  her  breakfast  aside  un- 
tasted,  and  addressed  a  petition  to  Mr.  Gladstone 
explaining  that  she  had  adopted  this  course  as  a 
matter  of  principle  and  for  the  sake  of  those  who 
might  come  after.  Miss  Wallace  Dunlop  has  not 
the  vigour  and  reserve  force  that  belong  to  youth 
and  she  is  of  fragile  constitution,  but  she  never  wa- 
vered and  went  cheerfully  on  with  her  terrible  task. 
Every  effort  was  made  to  break  down  her  resolution. 
The  ordinary  prison  diet  was  no  longer  placed  before 


her,  but  such  dainty  food  as  at  other  times  is  not 
seen  in  HoUoway,  and  this  was  left  in  her  cell  both 
day  and  night  in  the  hope  that  she  would  be  tempted 
to  eat,  but  though  her  table  was  always  covered, 
she  touched  nothing.  Tuesday  was  the  day  on 
which  she  felt  most  hungry,  and  then,  as  she  says, 
**  I  threw  a  fried  fish,  four  slices  of  bread,  three 
bananas  and  a  cup  of  hot  milk  out  of  the  window  " 
Threats  and  coaxing  alike  failed  to  move  her.  The 
doctor,  watching  her  growing  weakness  with  con- 
cern, came  to  feel  her  pulse  many  times  during  the 
day,  but  her  calm  steadfast  spirit  and  gentle  gaiety 
never  deserted  her.  She  had  always  a  smile  for  him. 
"  What  are  you  going  to  have  for  dinner  to-day?  " 
he  would  ask,  and  she  would  reply,  "  My  determi- 
nation." **  Indigestible  stuff,  but  tough,  no  doubt," 
he  would  answer.  So  Monday,  Tuesday,  Wednes- 
day, Thursday  passed;  by  Friday  it  was  clearly 
realised  that  she  would  not  change  her  mind  but 
would  carry  on  her  hunger  strike  even  to  the 
gates  of  death.  Hourly  she  was  growing  more 
feeble  and  so  on  Friday  evening,  July  9th,  she  was 
set  free. 

The  fourteen  women  who  had  been  sentenced  on 
the  day  of  her  release  and  heard  the  news  of  what 
she  had  done  as  they  were  being  hurried  to  gaol  de- 
cided to  follow  her  example.  On  reaching  HoUoway 
they  at  once  informed  the  officials  that  they  would 
refuse  to  deliver  up  any  of  their  private  property, 
to  undress  and  to  put  on  the  prison  clothing,  to  obey 
the  rule  of  silence,  to  perform  prison  tasks  and  to 
eat  the  prison  food  and  that  in  every  way  that  was 
open  to  them  they  would  protest  against  the  regula- 
tions.    The  Governor  agreed  for  the  time  being  to 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  1909  393 

allow  them-  to  retain  their  own  clothing,  but  told 
them  that  when  the  visiting  magistrates  next  came 
round  they  would  be  charged  before  them  with  mu- 
tiny. The  women  then  addressed  petitions  to  the 
Home  Secretary,  demanding  that,  in  accordance  with 
international  custom,  they  should  receive  the  treat- 
ment due  to  political  prisoners,  and  decided  to  wait  a 
day  or  two  for  a  reply  before  beginning  the  hunger 

The  Suffragettes  had  always  condemned  the  inade- 
quate ventilation  of  the  cells  which  they  felt  to  be  ex- 
ceedingly injurious  to  the  health  of  every  prisoner. 
On  those  burning  summer  days  the  stifling  heat  be- 
came almost  unbearable  and  after  several  times  ap- 
pealing that  more  fresh  air  should  be  allowed  to 
them,  the  women  at  last  determined  to  break  some 
of  the  panes. 

On  Wednesday  morning  Christabel  and  Mrs. 
Tuke,  anxious  for  news  of  their  comrades,  went 
up  to  HoUoway  and  obtained  admittance  to  a  house 
opposite  the  gaol.  There  from  a  back  window, 
they  called  to  the  prisoners,  who  eagerly  stretched 
out  their  arms  to  them  through  the  broken  panes, 
and  in  a  few  shouted  words  told  them  of  what  had 
taken  place.  The  same  afternoon,  a  committee  of 
visiting  magistrates  arrived  in  the  prison  and  sen- 
tenced the  Suffragettes  to  from  seven  to  ten  days' 
close  solitary  confinement.  The  women  were  then 
all  dragged  away  to  the  punishment  cells.  Miss 
Florence  Spong,  one  of  the  prisoners,  describes  her 
experience  thus: 

Entering  a  dim  corridor  on'  either  side  of  which  were 
cells,  I  was  conducted  to  the  last  one  and  the  double  iron 


doors  were  clanged  and  locked  behind  me ;  the  cell  damp,  icy 
cold  and  dark  struck  terror  in  me,  but  the  principle  for  which 
I  was  fighting  helped  me  to  overcome  my  fears.  In  the  dim 
light  I  discovered  a  plank  bed  fixed  in  one  corner  of  the 
cell  about  four  inches  from  the  ground,  with  a  wooden  pil- 
low at  the  head.  Opposite  was  a  tree  stump,  clamped  to 
the  wall  for  a  seat,  and  in  another  corner  was  a  small  shelf 
with  a  filthy  rubber  tumbler  full  of  water.  High  above  the 
bed  was  a  small  window  and  through  the  tiny  panes  of 
opaque  glass  a  faint  light  filtered.  Realising  how  quickly 
the  light  was  waning  I  hurriedly  examined  my  cell.  I  dis- 
covered two  pools  of  water  near  the  head  of  the  bed  which 
never  dried  up.  There  was  a  small  square  of  glass  high 
above  the  door  and  through  this  the  light  of  a  tiny  gas  jet 
flickered  from  the  corridor  outside.  This  was  lit  at  five 
o*clock  and  just  enabled  me  to  see  the  objects  in  my  cell. 
At  eight  o'clock  three  wardresses  brought  me  a  mattress  and 
some  rugs,  and  again  the  doors  clanged  to  and  I  was  alone. 
I  will  not  speak  of  that  night ;  I  leave  it  for  your  imagina- 
tion. At  six  the  next  morning  I  was  told  to  get  up,  my 
mattress  and  bed  clothes  were  taken  from  my  cell  and  a  tiny 
bowl  of  water  was  brought  me  to  wash  in,  and  that  was 
the  only  wash  I  was  allowed  every  twenty-four  hours. 

"  It  is  wrong  that  there  should  be  such  places 
to-day,"  Miss  Florence  Cooke  told  the  Governor, 
"  they  would  drive  any  ordinary  prisoner  mad,"  and 
she  tells  us: 

I  saw  all  means  of  protest  had  been  taken  from  me  ex- 
cept one,  and  that  was  to  do  what  Miss  Wallace  Dunlop 
had  done,  to  refuse  to  take  any  food.  The  hardest  time 
was  the  first  twenty-four  hours.  Milk  was  brought  to  me 
which  I  felt  I  could  have  taken  very  willingly,  but  I  put  it 
from  me.  Then  the  wardress  brought  me  in  some  food.  I 
said  to  her,  "  Will  you  please  take  that  out?  "     She  refused. 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  1909  395 

I  therefore  took  the  tin  in  which  the  food  was  and  rolled  it 
out  of  the  cell  and  what  was  in  it  went  upon  the  ground. 

This  is  important,  because  Mr.  Gladstone  after- 
wards charged  the  Suffragettes  with  having  thrown 
food  at  the  wardresses. 

Miss  Cooke  goes  on: 

I  was  particularly  careful  in  what  I  did  to  be  polite  and  I 
believe  all  the  other  Suffragettes  were  the  same.  On  Friday 
I  took  to  my  bed  and  the  doctor  told  me  that  if  I  persisted  I 
should  get  a  fever,  but  I  was  absolutely  determined  to  do  my 
part,  at  whatever  sacrifice,  and  I  told  the  Governor  that  so 
long  as  I  was  responsible  for  my  action  I  should  refuse  to  take 

On  Sunday  night  I  was  removed  to  the  hospital  and  there 
a  fresh  effort  was  made  to  get  me  to  take  food.  Medicine 
was  brought  to  me,  which  I  absolutely  refused,  knowing  that 
it  was  either  food  in  disguise  or  else  intended  to  aggravate 
my  hunger.  On  Monday  afternoon  my  head  felt  exceed- 
ingly bad  and  I  hardly  knew  what  I  was  doing,  but  I  de- 
termined that  I  would  not  give  in.  In  the  evening  the 
Governor  came  to  me  and  said,  "  Be  very  calm."  I  said  to 
him,  **  There  is  a  supreme  power  which  gives  us  strength  to 
bear  whatever  comes  to  us."  He  said,  "  I  have  orders  to 
release  you,"  and  I  said  to  him,  "  Does  Mr.  Gladstone  pre- 
fer this  to  doing  us  justice  ?  " 

The  other  prisoners  all  told  similar  stories,  each 
of  which  unconsciously  displayed  the  most  wonder- 
ful heroism.  One  day  Miss  Mary  Allen  fell  faint- 
ing on  the  stone  floor  of  her  punishment  cell  and 
when,  weak  and  numb  with  cold,  she  regained  con- 
sciousness, she  sang  the  Women's  Marseillaise  to 
cheer  herself,  and  to  her  delight  the  occupant  of  the 
next  cell  joined   in.     So,   bravely   struggling,    each 


of  the  women  won  her  way  out  to  freedom,  having 
fasted  bravely,  some  for  six  and  a  half,  others  for 
six,  five  and  a  half,  or  five  days. 

Think  of  the  courage  of  it!  To  be  confined 
there  in  semi-darkness  when  a  word  would  procure 
release.  To  withstand  the  terrible  pangs  of  hunger 
with  food  always  before  one's  eyes,  distracted  by  the 
fever  of  that  unhealthy  and  fcEtid  place.  To  feel 
oneself  growing  gradually  weaker  and  weaker,  and 
to  know  that  but  a  little  more,  perhaps  suddenly, 
any  moment  without  warning,  and  the  heart  will 
stop.  And  yet  never,  never  to  falter,  always  to 
cling  on  to  the  word  of  their  faith  and  the  great 
impersonal  ideal.  Think  of  the  wonderful  courage 
of  it  I  And  after  their  release  it  was  only  with 
utmost  care  and  cherishing  that  these  dear  women 
were  won  back  to  life  and  in  their  feeble  weariness 
they  felt,  even  when  lying  on  the  softest  bed,  as 
though  they  were  stretched  upon  iron  bars. 

There  were  some  generous  souls,  the  Reverend 
Hugh  Chapman  of  the  Royal  Chapel  of  the  Savoy 
and  others,  who  raised  their  voices  in  protest,  and 
in  appeal  to  the  authorities  to  withdraw  their  obsti- 
nate opposition  to  the  cause  for  which  the  women 
fought,  or  at  least  to  extend  to  them  the  recognised 
usages  of  political  warfare.  It  was  shown  that 
even  according  to  the  strict  letter  of  the  law,  the 
women,  their  stone-throwing  notwithstanding,  had 
an  unassailable  claim  to  political  treatment.  In  the 
case  of  In-re-Castioni,  reported  in  Pitt  Cobbett's 
'*  Leading  Cases  on  International  Law,'*  a  Swiss 
subject  named  Castioni  had  been  arrested  in  England 
at  the  requisition  of  the  Swiss  Government,  on  a 
charge  of  murder.     Under  the  provisions  of  the  Ex- 


JUNE  AND  JULY,  1909  397 

tradition  Act  of  1870,  the  prisoner  could  not  be  ex- 
tradited if  the  offence  was  of  a  political  character, 
and  the  judges  unanimously  held  that  even  such  of- 
fences as  murder  and  assassination  must  be  consid- 
ered political,  if  committed  in  the  belief  that  they 
would  promote  the  political  end  in  view,  and  as  part 
of,  and  incidental  to,  a  genuine  political  agitation, 
rising,  or  disturbance. 

But  the  legal  and  moral  justice  of  their  claim, 
and  the  heroic  courage  of  the  women,  were  alike  dis- 
regarded by  the  Government,  and  when,  on  July  21st, 
private  Members  of  Parliament  pressed  Mr.  Glad- 
stone to  relent,  and  to  do  justice  to  the  women  po- 
litical prisoners,  he  retaliated  by  asserting  that  they 
had  both  kicked  and  bitten  the  wardresses.  The 
charge  was  indignantly  repudiated  by  every  pris- 
oner and  after  careful  enquiry  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  is- 
sued a  statement  denying  the  accusations.  Three 
days  later  it  was  announced  by  the  press  that  Mr. 
Gladstone  had  held  an  enquiry  at  the  prison,  as  a 
result  of  which  he  had  decided  that  the  allegations 
of  assault  against  the  Suffragette  prisoners  had  been 
clearly  proved.  The  W.  S.  P.  U.  then  wrote  urging 
that  the  case  ought  not  to  be  judged  on  one-sided 
evidence  and  claiming  that  the  Home  Secretary 
should  allow  the  fourteen  Suffragettes,  against  whom 
the  charges  had  been  made  to  put  their  side  of  the 
matter  before  him.  Mr.  Gladstone  merely  replied 
that  he  had  already  directed  proceedings  to  be  taken 
against  Miss  Theresa  Garnett  and  Mrs.  Dove-Wil- 
cox,  two  of  the  Suffragettes  concerned,  and  that  these 
proceedings  would  afford  full  opportunity  for  them 
to  swear  to  their  version  of  the  facts  before  the 


On  August  4th  these  trumped-up  charges  were 
heard  at  the  North  London  Police  Court.  During 
the  whole  course  of  the  agitation  the  Suffragettes 
had  never  sought  either  to  conceal  or  to  deny  what 
they  had  done,  or  to  escape  punishment  for  their 
actions,  and  the  police  had  always  readily  admitted 
that  they  could  unhesitatingly  accept  the  word  of  a 
Suffragette.  It  is  unnecessary,  therefore,  to  give  at 
any  length  the  evidence  put  forward  at  the  trial  of 
these  two  women.  Their  own  statements,  calmly 
and  carefully  given,  even  the  magistrate,  although 
he  punished  them,  certainly  believed. 

Miss  Theresa  Garnett  was  accused  of  biting  one 
wardress  and  striking  another.  In  defending  herself 
against  these  charge;3  she  said : 

On  Wednesday,  July  14th,  wardresses  entered  my  cell 
and  ordered  me  to  come  down  to  see  the  visiting  magis- 
trates. I  stopped  to  pick  up  my  bag^  to  bring  with  me. 
Immediately  the  wardresses  intervened  between  me  and  my 
bag  to  prevent  me  taking  it  and  a  scuffle  ensued,  in  the 
course  of  which  I  found  myself  on  my  back,  and  two  or 
three  other  wardresses  came  into  my  cell.  In  this  struggle 
I  did  not  strike  or  bite  or  assault  any  of  the  wardresses 
in  any  way,  but  used  such  force  as  I  was  able  to  put  forth 
in  order  to  regain  possession  of  my  property.  One  of  the 
wardresses  tore  my  dress  and  it  is  quite  likely  that  as  I  took 
hold  of  her  her  dress  became  torn.  I  was  then  conducted 
to  the  head  of  the  stairs,  and  seeing  that  further  attempts 
to  retain  my  property  would  be  of  no  avail,  I  walked  quietly 
down  into  the  magistrates'  room.     When  I  was  there  the 

1  In  this  bag  Miss  Garnett  had  a  change  of  clothing  and 
other  necessaries  and  she  realised  thai  if  this  were  taken  from 
her,  her  determination  not  to  wear  the  prison  garments  would 
be  frustrated. 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  1909  399 

charges  of  breach  of  prison  discipline  were  made  against 
me  and  the  matron  further  charged  me  with  having  torn 
the  dress  of  one  of  the  wardresses  whilst  I  was  being  brought 
into  the  room,  but  no  charge  of  biting  the  finger  of  the 
wardress  was  made  against  me.  I  was  then  asked  whether 
I  had  any  apology  to  make.  ...  I  was  sentenced  to 
eight  days*  solitary  confinement  and  I  made  no  resistance 
as  I  was  marched  away  to  a  punishment  cell.  Since  I 
learned  that  this  charge  was  to  be  brought  against  me  I  have 
been  wondering  how  it  could  have  arisen.  I  do  not  be- 
lieve that  the  wardresses  would  purposely  fabricate  a  charge 
against  me.  I  am  led  therefore  to  suppose  that  this  charge 
rests  upon  a  mistake.  You  will  have  noticed,  Sir,  that  no 
charge  of  biting  the  wardress's  finger  was  preferred  against 
me  in  the  presence  of  the  visiting  magistrates,  whilst  a  charge 
of  tearing  the  wardress's  dress,  which  occurred  at  the  same 
time  that  my  other  act  is  alleged  to  have  happened,  was  re- 
ported to  them  then  and  there.  I  can  only  suppose  there- 
fore that  this  charge  was  an  afterthought  and  that,  finding 
a  wound  on  her  finger,  the  wardress  concluded  that  it  had 
been  produced  by  a  bite.  Now,  Sir,  I  have  dressed  my- 
self to-day  exactly  in  the  way  in  which  I  was  dressed  that 
day  in  Holloway  and  you  will  notice  that  I  am  wearing 
this  portcullis  brooch  on  my  left  side. 

At  this  Miss  Garnett  unbuttoned  and  took  off  the 
coat  she  was  wearing  and  the  magistrate  rudely 
said:  "  I  suppose  you  could  bite  as  well  in  one  dress 
as  in  another." 

"  I  have  already  told  you  that  my  dress  was  torn,"  she 
went  on.  "  You  will  see  that  it  is  torn  close  to  the  brooch. 
I  think  it  is  exceedingly  probable  that  the  wardress  who 
tore  my  dress  received  a  wound  in  her  finger  from  the  brooch 
I  was  wearing  and  this  wound  would  exactly  resemble  the 
wound  caused  by  a  bite." 


Miss  Garnett  now  unpinned  the  portcullis  brooch 
which  since  April  of  that  year  had  been  presented 
as  a  badge  of  honour  to  every  member  of  the  W.  S. 
P.  U.  who  had  suffered  imprisonment  for  the  cause, 
and  which,  like  a  genuine  portcullis,  had  five  sharp 
little  tooth-like  projections  at  its  base. 

"  Here  is  the  brooch,"  she  said,  handing  it  to  the 
the  magistrate,  "  you  can  look  at  it  for  yourself. 
I  have  only  this  to  add  that  if,  in  spite  of  the  true 
facts  which  I  have  narrated  to  you,  you  send  me  to 
prison  on  account  of  the  charges  which  have  been 
made  against  me,  I  shall  go  there  prepared  to  carry 
out  afresh  my  protest  against  the  treatment  in 

Mr.  Fordham  said  that  evidently  there  had  been 
a  great  struggle  and  that  at  such  times  it  was  difficult 
to  say  exactly  what  had  taken  place.  He  believed 
that  the  wound  had  been  caused  accidentally,  though 
he  thought  it  was  more  likely  that  the  wardress's 
hand  had  been  struck  against  Miss  Garnett's  teeth 
than  that  the  wound  had  been  caused  by  the  brooch. 
He  therefore  dismissed  the  case,  but  though  Miss 
Garnett  had  been  acquitted  of  this  charge  Mr.  Glad- 
stone never  retracted  the  statements  which  he  had 
made  in  Parliament  as  to  the  Suffragette  prisoners 
having  bitten  the  wardresses. 

As  soon  as  this  first  case  against  Miss  Garnett 
had  been  disposed  of,  a  second  charge  of  striking 
one  of  the  wardresses  was  preferred  against  her. 
She  then  said : 

On  the  day  following  that  on  which  the  visiting  magis- 
trates came  to  Holloway,  the  wardress  entered  my  cell  and 
ordered  me  to  get  up  off  the  bed.  I  did  not  do  so  and  she 
seized  hold  of  the  bedding  and  rolled  me  on  to  the  floor, 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  1909  401 

injuring  my  knee.  I  then  said  to  her,  "  Is  this  what  you 
do?"  and  she  said,  "  It  is."  I  said  to  her,  "  In  a  civilised 
country?"  and  she  said,  "You  are  a  set  of  uncivilised 
women."  I  then  asked  her  to  leave  the  cell  and  she  re- 
fused to  do  so,  whereon  I  pushed  her  without  using  any 
unnecessary  violence  out  of  the  cell.  Later  in  the  day  she 
was  exceedingly  insolent  to  me  in  her  behaviour  and  she 
further  reported  mt  to  the  Governor  and  I  was  moved  into 
a  more  severe  p<inishment  cell.  I  informed  the  Governor  of 
the  manner  in  which  she  had  treated  me  aiid  from  that  time 
onwards  her  behaviour  was  marked  by  ordinary  courtesy. 

Mr.  Fordham  then  sentenced  Miss  Garnett  to 
a  month's  imprisonment  in  the  third  division. 

After  this  two  charges  were  also  brought  against 
Mrs.  Dove-Wilcox  of  Bristol,  who  was  accused 
of  having  kicked  several  of  the  wardresses,  both 
whilst  she  was  being  taken  from  the  cell  to  the  visit- 
ing magistrates'  room  and  on  the  way  to  the  punish- 
ment cell  afterwards.  To  the  first  charge  she  re- 
turned an  absolute  denial,  saying  that  when  sum- 
moned to  appear  before  the  magistrates  she  had 
gone  quietly  and  willingly,  and  that  when  she  had 
been  charged  before  them,  no  attempt  had  been  made 
to  suggest  that  she  had  assaulted  any  of  the  ward- 
resses. She  was  sentenced  to  eight  days'  close  con- 
finement in  a  punishment  cell,  but,  as  she  explained: 

I  refused  to  accept  this  treatment  and  said  that  if  they 
insisted  I  should  have  to  be  dragged  away  by  force.  Sev- 
eral wardresses  accordingly  seized  me  to  take  me  away.  I 
offered  such  resistance  as  I  was  able  to,  but  was  over- 
powered. Outside  the  room  some  of  the  wardresses  com- 
menced to  pummel  me  very  severely,  inflicting  serious  bruises 
upon  me  and  at  last  I  deliberately  kicked  two  of  them.  I 
had  on  a  pair  of  thin  house-shoes  at  the  time,  because,  as  you 


know,  we  had  insisted  upon  our  right  to  retain  our  own 
clothing,  so  that  I  could  not  have  hurt  either  of  them  very 
much.  They  then  picked  me  up  and  carried  me  to  the  cell 
and  on  the  way  treated  me  very  cruelly,  twisting  my  arms, 
almost  throttling  me  and  tearing  at  my  hair  with  great  vio- 
lence. I  remonstrated  with  them,  saying,  "  You  have  no 
right  to  treat  me  in  this  way  and  I  shall  complain  to  the 
Governor  of  this  cruelty."  They  carried  me  into  the  cell 
and  threw  me  roughly  onto  the  wooden  bed,  taking  away 
my  shoes,  which  they  did  not  return  for  some  time.  At  first 
I  determined  to  complain  to  the  Governor  and  to  show  him 
the  bruises  on  my  arms,  but  on  consideration  I  remembered 
that  my  quarrel  was  with  the  Government  and  not  with 
the  wardresses.  I  did  not  wish  them  to  get  into  trouble. 
Moreover,  I  regarded  the  incident  as  closed,  as  I  heard  noth- 
ing of  any  complaint  as  to  my  action.  I  consider  I  was 
perfectly  justified  in  what  I  did  and  that  anyone  with  arms 
pinioned,  assaulted  as  I  was,  would  have  taken  similar  ac- 

The  magistrate  refused  to  accept  Mrs.  Dove- Wil- 
cox's denial  of  the  charge  of  kicking  the  wardresses 
on  her  way  to  the  visiting  magistrates'  room,  but 
said  that  it  was  "  not  of  a  very  serious  kind,"  and 
that  he  would  sentence  her  to  pay  a  fine  of  40  shil- 
lings or  to  go  to  prison  for  ten  days.  He  also  found 
her  guilty  of  the  second  charge  of  kicking  the  ward- 
resses on  being  removed  from  the  visiting  magis- 
trates' room,  and  sentenced  her  to  pay  a  further  40 
shillings  or  to  go  to  prison  for  ten  days.  If  she  suf- 
fered imprisonment,  the  two  terms  were  to  run  con- 
currently, that  is  to  say,  she  would  serve,  ten  days 
in  all.  As  she  had  already  stated  that  she  would 
not  pay  any  fine,  this  was  tantamount  to  punishing 
her  for  one  of  the  charges  only. 

The  two  women  were  still  weak  from  their  first 

JUNE  AND  JULY,  igog  403 

hunger  strike,  but  they  determined  to  again  make 
the  same  stand.  On  their  arrival  at  Holloway,  the 
officials  forcibly  stripped  their  clothes  from  their 
backs,  flung  the  prison  garments  upon  them,  and 
forced  them  into  the  punishment  cells,  where,  in 
spite  of  the  continual  faintness  from  which  they  suf- 
fered, they  steadfastly  refused  all  food  until  Sat- 
urday, August  7th,  the  third  day  of  their  imprison- 
ment, when  the  order  of  release  was  brought. 


Mr.  Lloyd  George  at  Lime  House;  Twelve  Women 
Sent  to  Prison;  Another  Strike.  Hunger  Strik- 
ers IN  Exeter  Gaol.    The  Scenes  at  Canford  Park 

AND  RUSHPOOL   HaLL.      MrS.   LeIGH  ON  tHE  RoOF  AT 

Liverpool;  Liverpool  Hunger  Strikers.  Man- 
chester Hunger  Strikers;  Leicester  Hunger 
Strikers;  Dundee  Hunger  Strikers.  The  Cleve- 
land By-election. 

The  vindictive  attitude  of  the  Government  and 
the  sufferings  and  heroism  of  the  women  in  prison, 
spurred  on  their  comrades  outside  to  deeds  of  re- 
newed bravery  and  daring.  Everywhere  vast 
throngs  of  people  supported  the  Suffragettes  in  their 
protests  and  no  precautions,  however  great,  or  bar- 
ricades, however  high  and  strong,  could  keep  the 
women's  voices  out.  "  Shame  on  you,  Mr.  As- 
quith,"  they  cried,  as  he  was  unveiling  a  statue  in 
the  Embankment  Gardens.  "  Shame  on  you  for  put- 
ting women  in  dark  cells  instead  of  treating  them  as 
political  prisoners.  Why  don't  you  give  us  the 
vote  and  end  it?"  "Ladies  and  gentlemen," 
thoughtlessly  began  Mr.  Gladstone  at  a  Read- 
ing meeting  from  which  all  women  had  been  ex- 
cluded, and  when  there  were  shouts  of,  "  Where  are 
they?"  he  answered,  "Not  far  off,  anyway."  He 
was  right,   for  soon  their  speeches,  delivered  at  a 


JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        405 

meeting  in  the  street  outside,  were  to  be  heard 
within,  competing  dangerously  with  his  own. 

When,  on  July  15th,  Mr.  Lewis  Harcourt  was 
speaking  at  the  Co-operative  Hall,  Leigh,  Lanca- 
shire, the  Suffragettes  rushed  towards  the  doors. 
Thousands  of  people  cheered  them  on,  crying :  "  We 
will  help  you  to  get  inside,"  and  though  the  police 
arrested  Miss  Florence  Clarkson  of  Manchester, 
Mrs.  Baines  and  three  other  women,  all  but  the  first 
were  rescued  by  the  crowd. 

On  July  1 7th,  Adela  Pankhurst  held  a  great  meet- 
ing outside  Mr.  Winston  Churchill's  meeting  in  Edin- 
burgh and  afterwards,  amid  the  enthusiastic  plaudits 
of  the  crowd,  she  and  Bessie  Brand  ^  made  a  dash 
for  the  doors,  followed  and  supported  by  hundreds 
of  men  and  women.  They  were  arrested  by  de- 
tectives in  plain  clothes  and  taken  to  the  police  sta- 
tion, whilst  cheering  men  raised  their  hats  and 
women  waved  their  scarves  and  handkerchiefs.  A 
second  charge  led  by  Miss  Eckford  of  Edinburgh 
was  beaten  back  by  mounted  police,  and  when  Mr. 
Churchill  emerged  he  was  greeted  with  a  storm  of 
groans.  Those  who  had  been  arrested  were  released 
after  the  meeting. 

Numbers  of  men,  most  of  them  members  of  the 
Men's  Political  Union,  were  now  also  coming  for- 
ward to  demand  justice  for  women  at  the  meetings 
from  which  the  women  were  excluded.  If  they  had 
gone  there  to  heckle  Cabinet  Ministers  on  any  other 
question  nothing  very  much  would  have  happened, 

1  Daughter  of  the  late  Sir  David  Brand,  Sheriff  of  Edinburgh 
and  Chairman  of  the  Crofters  Commission  who  had  been 
knighted  for  his  services  to  the  Liberal  party. 


but  now  most  terrible  violence  was  turned  upon 

At  Mr.  Herbert  Samuel's  meeting  in  the  Corn 
Exchange,  Bedford,  on  the  22nd  July,  four  men  un- 
dertook to  make  the  protest.  At  the  first  sound  of 
the  word  "  Women  "  two  whole  rows  of  seats  were 
overturned,  and  the  interrupter  was  immediately 
rushed  out,  whilst  Mr.  Samuel  remarked  with  a  sneer 
that  he  was  interested  to  meet  "  a  Suffragist  of  the 
male  persuasion,"  but  that  he  suspected  the  inter- 
rupter of  being  a  "  Conservative  hireling."  A  sec- 
ond man  rose  up  and  cried :  "  I  am  a  Liberal  and  / 
protest,"  but  the  stewards  at  once  set  upon  him  and 
he  was  thrown  through  a  door  at  the  back  of  the  plat- 
form and  fell  some  six  or  seven  feet  to  the  ground 
floor,  where  he  lay  insensible  for  nearly  half  an  hour ; 
two  other  men,  one  of  them  a  retired  naval  officer, 
met  with  a  similar  fate.  At  the  same  time  four 
of  the  women  who  were  holding  a  meeting  outside 
the  hall,  were  arrested  and  kept  at  the  police  station 
until  Mr.  Samuel  had  left  the  town. 

When  the  same  Cabinet  Minister  spoke  at  Not- 
tingham the  police  again  arrested,  and  subsequently 
released,  four  women,  one  of  whom  was  Miss  Watts, 
the  daughter  of  a  well-known  local  clergyman. 
A  like  procedure  was  adopted  in  numberless  cases 
afterwards.  Inside  the  hall,  an  unexpected  protest 
was  made  by  Mr.  C.  L.  Rothera,  the  City  Coroner 
for  Nottingham  and  a  prominent  Liberal,  but  in 
spite  of  the  fact  that  he  was  one  of  the  most  familiar 
and  respected  figures  in  the  town,  he  narrowly  es- 
caped ejection. 

At  Northampton,  Mr.  Samuel  again  encountered 
the  women,  for  a  plucky  little  band,  led  by  Miss 

JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        407 

Marie  Brackenbury,  attempted  to  rush  the  strong 
iron  gates  of  the  hall.  They  were  flung  back  by  the 
police,  but,  nothing  daunted,  Miss  Brackenbury 
climbed  to  the  top  of  a  forty-foot  scaffolding  adjoin- 
ing the  Exchange,  and,  though  the  rain  poured  con- 
tinuously, addressed  the  crowd  from  that  great 

But  the  most  extraordinary  scenes  were  perhaps 
those  that  took  place  when  Mr.  Lloyd  George  and 
Mr.  Sydney  Buxton  spoke  at  Limehouse  on  July 
30th.  Some  twenty  men  were  there  determined  to 
see  that  the  women's  cause  should  not  be  overlooked, 
and  as  soon  as  the  singing  of,  "  For  he's  a  jolly  good 
fellow,"  which  heralded  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  ap- 
pearance on  the  platform  had  died  away,  a  man  was 
seen  climbing  up  one  of  the  pillars  at  the  back  of 
the  hall.  Having  mounted  some  fifteen  feet  from 
the  ground,  he  uncoiled  a  rope  from  around  his  waist, 
contriving  a  sort  of  swing  seat  for  himself,  and,  un- 
furling a  purple-white-and-green  flag,  hung  there 
above  the  meeting.  Numbers  of  stewards  at  once 
rushed  from  every  direction  to  haul  him  down,  but 
more  than  a  dozen  of  his  friends  had  already 
gathered  around  the  pillar.  Instead  of  beginning 
their  speeches,  the  Cabinet  Ministers  sat  whispering 
together.  Then  one  of  them  went  across  to  Mrs. 
Lloyd  George  and  a  companion,  and  immediately 
these  two,  the  only  women  present,  left  the  meeting 
and  the  struggle  began.  Gradually  the  defenders 
of  the  pillar  were  wrenched  from  their  posts.  An 
eye-witness  declared  that  he  saw  "  one  man  frog- 
marched out  by  half  a  dozen  stewards  between  two 
rows  of  infuriated  blackguards,  who  were  raining 
blows  with  their  fists  on  his  defenceless  face."     A 


gentleman,  quite  unconnected  with  the  Suffragists 
men,  who  had  taken  no  part  in  the  struggle,  pro- 
tested against  this  excessive  and  cowardly  violence, 
but  was  at  once  set  upon  and  himself  flung  outside. 
One  man,  home  from  the  Colonies,  had  his  shoulder 
fractured,  another  had  one  wrist  broken  and  the 
other  sprained;  another  received  black  eyes  and  a 
broken  nose;  whilst  a  Cambridge  undergraduate  had 
his  collarbone  broken  and  a  dozen  other  men  needed 
medical  attendance,  one  fainting  through  loss  of 
blood  some  time  after  he  had  been  ejected.  At  last 
the  stewards  reached  the  pillar,  the  rope  was  cut  and 
the  man  aloft  with  the  flag  was  hauled  down  and  set 
upon  by  the  mob  of  stewards,  who  tumbled  over  each 
other  in  the  attempt  to  kick  and  strike  at  him;  one 
man  deliberately  hit  him  over  the  face  with  a  glass 
bottle.  When  finally  he  was  thrown  outside,  the 
police  carried  him  to  a  doctor. 

Now  the  Cabinet  Ministers  proceeded  with  their 
speeches,  but  when  Mr.  Lloyd  George  began  to  speak 
of  the  **  people's  will,"  there  came  a  megaphone 
chorus  from  a  little  workman's  dwelling  close  to  the 
hall  where  the  Suffragettes  were  lying  concealed, 
"  Votes  for  Women,"  "  Votes  for  Women,"  **  Votes 
for  Women."  The  stewards  rushed  to  the  windows 
on  that  side  of  the  hall  and  shut  them  hurriedly, 
but  the  sound  penetrated  still  for  the  people  of  the 
neighbourhood  joined  in  and  supported  the  mega- 
phones with  cheers  and  cries  of  "  Stick  to  it,  miss, 
stick  to  it."  Even  this  was  not  all,  for  a  desperate 
charge  was  being  led  against  the  police  cordon  that 
guarded  the  doors  of  the  Hall  and  in  this  struggle 
thirteen  women  were  placed  under  arrest. 

These  women  were  summoned  to  appear  before 

JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        409 

Mr.  Dickinson  at  the  Thames  Police  Court  on  the 
following  morning,  when  they  were  charged  with 
obstruction  and  as  a  result,  twelve  of  them  were 
taken  on  to  HoUoway  for  terms  varying  from  ten 
days  to  two  months.  They  were  all  determined  to 
protest  as  those  who  had  gone  before  them  had  done, 
against  the  prison  treatment,  and  when  ordered  to 
undress  and  to  proceed  to  the  cells,  they  refused  and 
linking  arms  stood  with  their  backs  to  the  wall. 
The  Governor  then  blew  his  whistle  and  a  great 
crowd  of  wardresses  appeared.  They  fell  upon  the 
women  and  after  a  long  struggle  dragged  them 
apart,  forced  them  into  the  cells,  and  ordered  them 
to  change  into  prison  clothes.  Worn  out  as  they 
now  were  w;ith  vain  resistance,  they  still  bravely  re- 
fused to  give  in  and  their  clothes  were  literally  torn 
from  their  backs. 

Who  would  not  shrink  from  such  an  ordeal! 
Who  would  not  rather  huddle  quietly  into  the  prison 
clothes,  however  ill-fitting,  coarse  and  objectionable 
they  might  be  than  be  subjected  to  such  a  thing  as 
this,  well  knowing  that  whatever  happened  one  must 
be  overpowered  in  the  end?  And  these  women  did 
shrink  from  the  ordeal,  but  bore  it  for  all  their  shrink- 
ing. *^  A  long  file  of  wardresses  fairly  ripped  my 
clothes  off,  leaving  me  only  half  covered,"  says  Lucy 
Burns;  **  I  counted  twelve  wardresses  in  my  cell. 
They  tried  to  taunt  and  goad  me,"  says  Mable  Cap- 
per, "  but  I  bit  my  lips." 

When  the  prison  clothes  had  been  forced  onto 
them  or  they  had  been  left  half  covered  with  the 
garments  lying  beside  them,  to  put  them  on  as  best 
they  might,  even  then  they  went  on  bravely  with 
their  protest.     The  ventilation  of  the  cells  was  in- 


adequate  —  it  was  their  duty  to  break  the  panes,  and, 
though  they  well  knew  that  as  a  consequence  they 
would  be  taken  where  the  want  of  air  was  even 
greater  and  where  they  could  not  break  the  glass, 
not  one  of  the  twelve  shrank  back.  The  windows 
were  scarcely  broken  when  vengeance  followed. 
They  were  dragged  away  to  the  punishment  cells  and 
in  these  unwholesome  dungeons  they  carried  out  the 
Hunger  Strike,  some  of  them  under  conditions  even 
worse  than  those  borne  by  their  previously  impris- 
oned comrades. 

In  some  of  the  punishment  cells,  including 
that  of  Mrs.  Leigh,  a  sanitary  convenience,  in  ap- 
pearance exactly  lil^e  an  ordinary  closet  without 
a  lid,  was  fixed  against  the  wall.  There  was  no 
water  supply  for  keeping  this  clear,  the  inner  vessel 
being  withdrawn  through  the  wall  from  the  corridor 
outside,  when  it  required  emptying.  When  it  is 
realised  that  the  prisoner  remained  in  the  cell  both 
night  and  day  without  a  moment's  intermission,  and 
that  the  ventilation  was  in  any  case  absolutely  in- 
adequate, the  objectionable  character  of  this  ar- 
rangement will  be  clearly  understood.  When  the 
matter  was  made  public  and  commented  upon  after- 
wards, Mr.  Gladstone  stated  that  this  closet  was 
only  put  there  in  case  of  emergency  and  that  in  every 
case  the  prisoner  would  be  readily  allowed  to  go  to 
the  W.  C.  in  the  corridor  on  ringing  her  bell.  Un- 
fortunately none  of  the  Suffragettes  who  had  been 
placed  in  the  cells  in  which  these  closets  were,  had 
tested  the  matter,  but  those  who  are  familiar  with 
the  Holloway  regime,  will,  for  various  reasons,  doubt 
the  truth  of  this  statement,  though  Mr.  Gladstone 
probably  believed  it.     When  a  prisoner  is  told  that 

JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        \\i 

she  will  not  be  allowed  to  leave  her  cell  at  all  for 
several  days  and  instead  of  being  sent  each  morning 
to  fetch  her  own  washing  water,  as  is  usual,  she  has 
it  brought  to  her  by  a  wardress;  when  at  the  same 
time  she  finds  a  sanitary  convenience  in  her  cell  and 
the  usual  cry  of  **  lavatory,"  is  omitted,  she  naturally 
concludes  that  the  receptacle  is  there  for  her  use,  and 
that  she  will  not  be  permitted  to  use  any  other. 
Anyone  who  has  asked  questions  in  HoUoway,  where 
questions  are  discouraged,  knows  that,  especially  if 
the  prisoner  were  under  punishment,  questions  upon 
this  point  would  probably  not  receive  either  polite 
or  pleasant  replies. 

For  two  nights  Mrs.  Baker  and  Mrs.  Leigh 
were  denied  even  a  mattress  and  were  obliged  to 
sleep  on  the  hard  wooden  plank.  The  long  sleep- 
less nights  were  for  all  the  prisoners  the  hardest 
part  of  the  trial  and  as  they  grew  weaker,  their 
minds,  as  happens  to  people  during  illness,  were 
often  filled  with  strange  fancies  which  could  only 
with  difficulty  be  subdued.  They  feared  that  they 
might  walk  in  their  sleep  and  eat  the  food  which  was 
always  left  in  their  cells  during  the  night.  Threats 
to  feed  them  forcibly  were  constantly  being  made  and 
the  horror  of  being  suddenly  overpowered  was  always 
upon  them.  Lucy  Burns  tells  how  once  in  the  night 
she  heard  a  sudden  scream.  **  That  cannot  be  one 
of  our  women,"  she  thought,  ^  it  is  too  incoherent," 
but  holding  her  breath  she  listened  with  quickly  beat- 
ing heart.  The  cry  came  again  and  again  and  at 
last  she  heard  quite  plainly,  "  No,  no,  take  it  away." 
Then  she  leapt  from  her  bed  and  stood  at  the  door 
hour  after  hour  waiting  for  what  might  come,  until 
at  last,  worn  out  and  stiff  with  cold  she  wrapped  her- 


self  in  her  blanket  and  fell  asleep  with  her  head 
against  the  door.  Saturday  evening,  Sunday,  Mon- 
day, Tuesday  passed. 

On  Wednesday  the  visiting  magistrates  came 
round.  The  prisoners  whom  they  had  come  to 
punish  were  now  all  weak  and  haggard  and  some 
were  unable  to  rise  from  their  beds.  Nevertheless 
further  sentences  of  close  confinement  in  the  punish- 
ment cells,  which  they  had  never  yet  left,  were  passed 
upon  thpm  all.  But  the  authorities  dared  not  at- 
tempt to  carry  out  these  sentences.  The  chances  of 
life  and  death  had  become  too  evenly  balanced  now, 
and  Mrs.  Baker  and  Mrs.  Leigh  were  set  free  that 
evening  and  the  remainder  of  the  women  on  Thurs- 
day and  Friday,  August  5th  and  6th. 

Meanwhile  three  young  Suffragettes,  Vera  Went- 
worth,  Mary  Phillips  and  Rose  Howey  had  gone 
through  the  hunger  strike  in  Exeter  having  been  ar- 
rested in  that  town  on  Friday,  July  30th,  whilst 
leading  a  crowd  of  2,000  people  to  the  doors  of  Lord 
Carrington's  Budget  meeting  in  the  Victoria  Hall 
there.  .  Their  arrest  had  excited  great  popular  in- 
dignation and  with  shouts  of  "  Let  them  go,  you 
cowards,"  the  people  had  rushed  to  their  rescue  but 
the  soldiery  had  been  called  out  to  beat  them  back. 

Suffering  born  for  a  cause  begets  sympathy  with 
that  cause  and  coercion  arouses  sympathy  with  the 
coerced.  Nevertheless  tyranny  and  cruelty  beget 
their  like,  a  crowd,  however  hostile,  will  hesitate  to 
throw  the  first  stone  but  when  that  has  been  flung, 
many  missiles  will  often  follow.  Thus,  when  it  was 
shown  that  rather  than  do  them  justice  the  Govern- 
ment was  prepared  to  thrust  women  into  unwhole- 
some dungeons  and  to  leave  them  to  starve  there  for 

JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        413 

many  days,  a  more  brutal  and  vindictive  temper  be- 
gan to  manifest  itself  amongst  the  more  disorderly 
sections  of  its  supporters  than  had  ever  before  been 

On  August  2nd,  a  great  Liberal  fete  was  held  at 
Canford  Park,  near  Poole  in  Dorsetshire.  There 
were  sports  and  games  and  Mr.  Churchill  was  to  de- 
liver an  address  on  the  Budget.  Annie  Kenney  with 
three  companions  attended  the  fete  and  the  story  of 
what  took  place  is  best  told  in  her  own  words.     She 



As  we  entered  the  Park  together  we  saw  two  very  young 
girls  being  dragged  about  by  a  crowd  of  Liberal  men, 
some  of  whom  were  old  enough  to  be  their  fathers.  They 
had  thrown  a  pig  net  over  them,  and  had  pulled  down  their 
hair.  We  heard  afterwards  that  these  girls  came  from  a 
village  near  by,  but  the  Liberals  suspected  them  to  be  Suf- 
fragettes and  ordered  them  out  of  the  Park.  Before 
Miss  Brackenbury  and  I  had  been  in  the  place  many  min- 
utes, though  we  had  never  opened  our  lips,  we  were  fol- 
lowed by  a  howling  mob  of  Liberal  men.  We  thought  we 
could  get  away  from  them  if  we  went  and  watched  the 
sports  instead  of  going  direct  to  Mr.  Churchiirs  meeting, 
but  they  crowded  round  us  and  the  language  they  used  is 
not  fit  for  print.  After  a  time  a  police  officer  came  up  and 
told  us  that  we  must  clear  out  of  the  place,  as  we  were  caus- 
ing all  the  trouble,  though  we  had  never  replied  back  to  any- 
thing that  had  been  said.  As  soon  as  the  crowd  saw  the  po- 
lice were  against  us  the  trouble  began.  There  seemed  to 
be  thousands  of  them  surging  round  us  and  they  divided 
Miss  Brackenbury  and  myself,  but  she  tried  to  keep  me  in 
view  as  much  as  she  could.  They  did  not  seem  to  want 
to  do  anything  to  her,  because  she  looked  strong  and  big, 
but  they  all  came  and  attacked  me.  They  were  calling  out 
to  each  other  to  get  hold  of  me  and  throw  me  into  the 


pond  which  was  very  near.  I  shall  never  forget  at  this 
point  seeing  a  carriage  in  which  were  two  old  ladles  come 
driving  up.  The  carriage  was  almost  turned  over  and  the 
two  women  were  white  with  fright  and  breathing  very 
quickly,  but  though  I  appealed  to  the  men  on  behalf  of  the 
two  ladies  they  took  no  notice.  Luckily  the  crowd  just 
swerved  round  the  corner  and  I  consider  the  lives  of  the 
two  women  were  saved  not  through  good  management  or 
through  any  feeling  on  the  part  of  the  Liberals,  but  it  was 
just  a  piece  of  luck.  After  that  they  seemed  to  become 
more  enraged.  I  then  turned  and  faced  the  crowd,  and, 
strange  to  say,  when  I  could  turn  round  and  face  them 
they  never  attempted  to  do  anything  to  me,  but  as  soon  as 
my  back  was  turned  they  started  dragging  me  about  in  a 
most  shameful  way.  One  man  who  was  wearing  the  Liberal 
colours  pulled  a- knife  out  of  his  pocket,  and  to  the  delight 
of  the  other  staunch  Liberals,  started  cutting  my  coat. 
They  cut  it  into  shreds  right  from  the  neck  downwards. 
Then  they  lifted  up  my  coat  and  started  to  cut  my  frock 
and  one  of  them  lifted  up  my  frock  and  cut  my  petticoat. 
This  caused  great  excitement.  A  cry  came  from  those  Lib- 
erals, who  are  supposed  to  have  high  ideas  in  public  life, 
to  undress  me.  They  took  off  my  hat  and  pulled  down  my 
hair,  but  I  turned  round  upon  them  and  said  that  it  would 
be  their  shame  and  not  mine.  They  stopped  then  for  a 
minute,  and  then  two  men,  also  wearing  the  Liberal  colours, 
got  hold  of  me  and  lifted  me  up  and  afterwards  dragged 
me  along,  not  giving  me  an  opportunity  to  walk  out  in  a 
decent  way. 

So  they  dragged  her  out,  the  little  fragile  woman 
with  her  torn  garments  and  her  masses  of  golden  hair 
falling  below  her  waist,  her  sensitive  face  flushed 
and  her  blue  eyes,  wide  with  pain  and  horror.  They 
dragged  her  close  past  the  house  of  the  great  Wim- 
bourne    family    who    owned    Canford    Park,    but 

JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog       '415 

though  the  guests  and  members  of  the  family  who 
were  watching  from  the  balcony  and  from  the  lawn 
in  front,  were  appealed  to  by  others,  they  made  no 
attempt  to  intervene  and  saw  the  great  gates  opened 
and  the  little  ragged,  exhausted  figure  with  her 
streaming  hair,  thrust  outside,  well  knowing  that  the 
nearest  railway  station  was  more  than  three  miles 

Truly  it  needed  some  courage  to  face  things  like 
this  for  the  sake  of  any  cause,  and  this  was  not  an 
isolated  happening. 

On  August  8th,  Miss  Helen  Tolson  had  a  similar 
experience  at  Rushpool  Hall,  Saltburn  by  the  Sea. 
This  is  her  own  description : 

The  day  was  beautiful  and  the  private  grounds  in  which 
Mr.  Churchill  and  Mr.  Samuel  were  to  speak  were  thronged 
with  a  great  crowd  of  their  supporters,  a  large  number  of 
whom  were  miners.  About  ten  of  us  had  obtained  ad- 
mission in  one  way  or  another  and  had  stationed  ourselves 
at  different  points.  As  each  woman  spoke  there  was  a 
great  roar  from  the  crowd,  who  nearly  all  left  the  speaker 
to  follow  and  ill-treat  her  as  she  was  being  taken  out. 
When  my  own  turn  came  I  started  to  ask  a  question,  but 
was  stopped  by  the  hand  of  a  Liberal  steward,  which  was 
thrust  into  my  mouth.  The  next  thing  I  remember  is  two 
stewards  holding  my  arms  and  a  third  coming  up  and  de- 
liberately kicking  me  in  the  body.  This  was  a  sign  to  the 
crowd  to  do  what  they  liked  with  me  and  they  thrust  me 
forward  with  cries  of  "  Throw  her  in  the  pond.**  They 
dragged  me  to  a  steep  bank  above  the  pond  and  here  three 
men,  seeing  that  my  hold  upon  a  small  tree  was  giving  way, 
tried  to  help  me.  Nothing  of  what  happened  during  the 
next  ten  minutes  is  at  all  clear  in  my  memory.  I  was 
often  full  length  on  the  ground  and  I  know  I  was  bruised 
from  head  to  foot.     The  crowd  abated  their  efforts  to  tram- 


pie  me  underfoot  when  the  word  was  passed  that  the  police 
were  at  last  coming.  When  I  was  pulled  up  the  bank  again 
I  found  that  my  skirt  and  underclothing  had  been  nearly 
torn  off. 

A  Miss  De  Legh,  daughter  of  Dr.  Dc  Legh  of 
Coatham,  a  guest  at  Rushpool  Hall,  quite  uncon- 
nected with  the  Suffragettes,  was  set  upon  by  one 
man  who  pushed  her  into  some  bushes  and  blew 
tobacco  smoke  into  her  face.  She  afterwards 
brought  an  action  for  assault  against  her  assailant 
and  he  was  fined  £3.  His  defence  was  that  she  had 
cried  "  cowards "  to  those  who  were  ejecting  the 
Suffragettes  and  had  thus  angered  the  crowd  so  that 
if  he  had  not  seized  her  she  would  probably  have 
been  swept  into  a  pond. 

On  August  20th,  when  Lord  Crewe  spoke  at  the 
great  St.  Andrew's  Hall,  Glasgow,  Miss  Alice  Paul 
succeeded  in  climbing  to  the  roof  and  in  the  hope 
of  being  able  to  speak  to  the  Cabinet  Minister  from 
this  point,  she  lay  there  concealed  for  many  hours 
in  spite  of  a  downpour  of  rain.  When  she  was  dis- 
covered and  forced  to  descend  she  was  heartily 
cheered  for  her  pluck  by  a  crowd  of  workmen,  one 
of  whom  came  forward  and  apologised  for  having 
told  a  policeman  of  her  presence,  saying  that  he  had 
thought  she  was  in  need  of  help. 

Later,  when  the  women  attempted  to  force  their 
way  into  the  building,  the  people  needed  no  urging 
to  lend  their  aid,  and  the  police  who  were  guarding 
the  entrance  were  obliged  to  use  their  truncheons  to 
beat  them  back.  When  the  officers  of  the  law  at- 
tempted to  make  arrests,  the  women  were  rescued 
from  their  clutches   again   and  again.     Eventually 





JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        417 

Adela  Pankhurst,  Lucy  Burns,  Alice  Paul  and  Mar- 
garet Smith  were  taken  into  custody,  but  even  when 
the  gates  of  the  police  station  were  closed  upon  them, 
the  authorities  feared  that  they  would  not  be  able  to 
hold  their  prisoners  for  the  crowds  shouted 
vociferously  for  their  release  and  twisted  the  strong 
iron  gates.  It  was  only  when  the  women  themselves 
appealed  to  them  that  they  consented  to  refrain  from 
further  violence. 

When  Lord  Crewe  had  safely  left  the  town,  the 
friends  of  the  women  were  allowed  to  bail  them  out, 
on  the  understanding  that  they  would  appear  at  the 
police  court  at  nine  o'clock  the  following  morning. 
Nevertheless  though  they  arrived  before  the  ap- 
pointed time,  there  was  no  one  to  show  them  the 
Court  room  and  whilst  they  wandered  about  in  the 
passages,  trying  to  find  their  way,  their  case  was 
disposed  of  behind  locked  doors  and  with  the  public 
excluded.  The  bail  was  escheated  and  a  warrant 
was  issued  for  their  arrest  before  five  minutes  past 
nine.  At  this  Mr.  Thomas  Kerr,  one  of  the  bailees, 
rose  to  protest  and  asked  two  minutes  leave  to  find 
the  defaulting  prisoners,  saying  that  he  was  sure 
they  were  already  in  the  building,  but  he  was  ab- 
ruptly told  that  the  court  was  closed.  He  went 
outside  and  immediately  met  the  ladies  and  brought 
them  in  before  Bailie  Hunter,  who  presided,  had 
left  the  Bench,  but  though  the  Bailie  saw  them  he 
hurried  away,  whilst  the  Fiscal  ^  tried  to  put  all  the 
blame  upon  him.  The  bail  was  never  refunded  and 
the  women  never  answered  to  the  warrants  and  so 
the  matter  dropped. 

^The  Scotch  Fiscal  is  the  officer  who  prosecutes  in  the  case 
of  petty  criminal  offences. 



The  same  Friday,  August  20th,  on  which  Lord 
Crewe  had  spoken  at  Glasgow,  Mr.  Haldane,  the 
Secretary  of  State  for  War,  was  addressing  a  meet- 
ing at  Liverpool  and  Mrs.  Leigh,  who  was  in  com- 
mand of  the  Suffragette  army  there  had  organised 
her  forces  in  such  a  way  as  to  give  an  effective  reply 
to  his  jeering  reference  to  what  he  described  as  the 
**  bodkin  tactics."  Early  in  the  day  she  and  a 
number  of  others  had  taken  up  their  quarters  in  an 
empty  house  separated  from  the  hall  by  a  narrow 
passage  only.  When  the  meeting  began  she 
clambered  through  the  window  and  swung  herself 
on  to  the  roof  with  the  most  extraordinary  agility  at 
so  great  a  height  and  with  so  slender  a  foothold,  that 
observers  were  thrilled  with  horror. 

A  loud  clear  woman's  voice,  calling  attention  to 
the  women's  demand,  through  a  megaphone,  and 
then  crash  after  crash;  that  was  what  the  people  in 
the  hall  knew  of  the  scene,  whilst  outside  great 
crowds  were  surging  and  those  who  looked  up  could 
see  what  the  Liverpool  Courier  called,  **  the  frail 
figure  of  a  little  woman  peeping  out  from  behind  a 
chimney  stack,"  who  as  her  comrades  at  the  windows 
passed  ammunition  up  to  her,  hurled  it  onto  the  roof 
of  the  hall  "  with  a  dexterity  which  was  nothing 
short  of  marvellous."  When  everything  that  they 
had  brought  with  them  had  been  exhausted  she  tore 
the  slates  up  from  the  roof  and  flung  them  after  the 

The  police  rushed  to  the  scene  and  pressed  a  pass- 
ing window  cleaner  into  the  service  but  his  ladder 
was  too  short  and  the  fire  escape  had  to  be  sent  for 
before  Mrs.  Leigh  could  be  brought  down.  Then 
she   and   her   six   comrades   were    driven    away    in 

JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        419 

"  Black  Maria  "  to  the  Central  Bridewell  and,  hav- 
ing been  allowed  out  on  bail  at  a  late  hour,  were 
brought  up  the  following  "morning  at  the  Liverpool 
police  court  charged  with  doing  wilful  damage  to 
the  Sun  Hall. 

They  were  remanded  until  the  following  Tuesday, 
August  24th,  but  refused  to  find  bail  and  were  de- 
tained in  prison  where,  on  being  expected  to  con- 
form to  the  ordinary  rules,  they  began  the  hunger 
strike  and  were  placed  in  the  punishment  cells.  They 
had  already  fasted  three  and  a  half  days  when  their 
trial  took  place.  It  was  stated  in  the  Court  that 
no  one  had  been  hurt  by  their  action  on  the  night 
of  the  Sun  Hall  meeting  but  that  damage  had  been 
done  to  the  extent  of  £3.  19.  o.  Sentences  of  from 
one  to  two  months'  imprisonment  in  the  second  di- 
vision having  been  passed  upon  them,  they  were 
taken  back  to  the  punishment  cells,  where,  owing 
to  the  cold  and  damp  many  of  them  were  stricken 
with  shivering  fits.  The  order  of  release  came  for 
Miss  Healiss  on  the  following  day  and  for  the  six 
others  on  Thursday  evening. 

During  the  summer  months,  Mr.  Asquith  had 
been  golfing  at  Clovelly  and  three  of  the  younger 
Suffragettes,  girls  of  between  twenty  and  twenty-five, 
had  approached  him  in  the  midst  of  his  game  and 
had  told  him  pretty  forcibly  what  they  thought  of  him 
and  his  Government.  On  the  first  Saturday  in  Sep- 
tember these  same  girls,  Jessie  Kenney,  Vera  Went- 
worth  and  Elsie  Howey,  visited  Littlestone  on  Sea 
where  Mr.  Asquith  and  Mr.  Gladstone  were  playing 
golf  together.  They  caught  sight  of  Mr.  Asquith  as 
he  was  leaving  the  club  house  and  Elsie  Howey  made 
a  dash  towards  him.     He  tried  to  run  back  into 


the  house  but  was  caught  just  as  he  reached  the  top- 
most step.  As  soon  as  he  felt  the  girl's  touch  on 
his  arm,  he  cried  out,  "  I  shall  have  you  locked  up," 
but  she  replied,  "  I  don't  care  what  you  do,  Mr. 
Asquith,"  and  as  Jessie  and  Vera  also  appeared,  he 
called  for  help  and  Mr.  Herbert  Gladstone  came  to 
his  aid.  The  two  men  then  tried  to  push  the  three 
girls  down  the  steps  but  this  was  not  easily  accom- 
plished. As  Jessie  said,  "  There  were  hjows  re- 
ceived from  both  parties  and  plenty  of  jostling. 
Mr.  Gladstone  fought  like  a  prize-fighter  and  struck 
out  left  and  right  I  must  say  he  is  a 'better  fighter 
than  he  is  a  politician.  The  Suffragettes  have  often 
been  called  hooligans,  but  the  two  Cabinet  Ministers 
certainly  showed  that  they  too  could  be  hooligans 
when  no  one  was  looking." 

At  last  two  other  men  came  to  reinforce  the 
Cabinet  Ministers  and  the  girls  were  all  three 
knocked  down  in  a  heap.  The  two  Ministers  then 
made  good  their  escape  and  Mr,  Gladstone 
motored  to  Hythe  police  station  and  arranged  with 
the  superintendent  of  the  County  Police  for  a  body 
of  constables  to  be  sent  to  guard  Lympne  Castle, 
where  he  was  staying.  Of  course  the  Suffragettes 
were  severely  condemned  for  having  "  annoyed  "  the 
Cabinet  Ministers  on  their  holiday,  and  the  escapade 
of  these  three  girls  was  described  as  an  "  outrage," 
but  nevertheless  many  jokes  were  made  on  the  sub- 
ject, at  Mr.  Asquith's  expense.  Several  detailed  ac- 
counts of  his  playing  golf  with  an  escort  of  upwards 
of  six  policemen  (some  of  which  he  took  the  trouble 
to  deny)  appeared  in  the  Press. 

On  Saturday,  September  4th,  whilst  Mr.  Asquith 
was  being  waylaid  at  Lympne,  scenes  in  which  there 

JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        421 

was  a  curious  mingling  of  grave  and  gay,  were  tak- 
ing place  in  Manchester  where  Mr.  Birrell  was  ad- 
dressing a  Budget  demonstration  at  the  White  City. 
The  platform  from  which  he  was  to  speak  and  all 
the  neighbouring  roofs  had  been  carefully  searched 
for  Suffragettes  and  with  200  stewards  and  fifty 
policemen  in  the  Hall  it  was  thus  hoped  that  they 
would  be  excluded.  But  the  women  entered  the 
American  Cake-Walk  show  which  adjoined  the  con- 
cert hall  where  the  meeting  was  taking  place  on  the 
one  side,  and  the  American  Dragon  Slide  which 
came  next  it  on  the  other,  and  from  these  two  points 
they  threw  small  missiles  through  the  glass  windows 
and  succeeded  in  making  their  voices  heard.  It  was 
impossible  to  arrest  the  Suffragettes  who  were  on  the 
cake-walk  machine  without  cake-walking  also  and 
when  a  policeman  mounted  the  machine  in  order  to 
effect  their  capture,  he  found,  to  the  great  amuse- 
ment of  the  onlookers,  that  he  had  got  on  to  the 
wrong  platform  and  so  was  forced  to  play  his  part 
in  what  the  Liverpool  Courier  described  as  "  a  spec- 
tacle, which  from  the  point  of  its  ludicrousness,  must 
stand  unparalleled  in  the  annals  of  police  adven- 
ture " ;  for,  as  he  was  obliged  to  cake-walk  forwards, 
so  the  offending  women  were  compelled  to  cake-walk 
backwards.  But  if,  as  is  possible,  the  Suffragettes 
in  company  with  the  rest  of  the  public,  found  the 
spectacle  amusing,  their  fun  was  soon  at  an  end,  for 
on  Monday,  they  were  sentenced  to  from  one  to  two 
months'  imprisonment  in  the  second  division.^ 

1  An  attempt  was  made  to  charge  some  of  the  women  with 
unlawful  wounding  because  a  man's  hand  had  been  cut  by  the 
falling  glass,  but  on  the  wound  being  found  to  be  very  slight, 
the  charge  was  reduced  to  one  of  common  assault. 


At  Strangcways  Gaol,  terrible  punishments  were 
meted  out  to  them  on  the  refusal  to  obey  the  rules, 
but  these  punishments  were  tempered  by  kindly  acts 
on  the  part  of  many  members  of  the  staff.  Some  of 
the  women  were  sentenced  not  only  to  close  solitary 
confinement  but  to  wear  handcuffs  for  twenty-four 
hours  and  one  of  them  tells  that,  when,  after  a  sleep- 
less night,  the  matron  took  pity  on  her  and  ordered 
the  handcuffs  to  be  removed,  she  nearly  fainted  with 
pain,  whilst  the  wardress  worked  her  arms  to  restore 
the  circulation.  To  another  prisoner  who  refused 
to  wear  the  prison  clothes,  was  brought  a  "  strange 
unclean  leather  and  canvas  jacket  with  straps  and 
buckles  attached."  Into  this  she  was  forced  and 
locked  but  somehow  or  other  she  managed  to  wrig- 
gle out,  all  but  one  arm,  and  the  matron  then  ap- 
peared and  ordered  that  the  remaining  strap  should 
be  unlocked.  These  Manchester  prisoners  were  all 
released  on  Wednesday,  the  8th  September,  after  a 
four  days'  fast. 

On  the  same  day  were  released  six  women  who 
had  been  arrested  in  Leicester  on  the  previous 
Saturday  for  holding  a  meeting  of  protest  outside 
that  addressed  by  Mr.  Winston  Churchill  in  the 
Palace  Theatre.  They  also  had  carried  out  the 
hunger  strike. 

In  Dundee  at  three  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  Mon- 
day, September  13th,  Miss  Isabel  Kelley,  clad  in 
gymnastic  dress,  was  climbing  a  high  scaffolding 
erected  on  the  Bank  of  Scotland  from  which  in  the 
darkness  she  let  herself  down  some  twenty-five  feet 
onto  the  roof  of  the  Kinnaird  Hall  where  Mr. 
Herbert  Samuel  was  to  hold  a  meeting  the  next 
night.     There  she  lay  concealed  for  seventeen  hours 

JVLY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  1909        423 

until  the  meeting  began.  Then  by  means  of  a 
strong  rope  about  twenty-four  feet  in  length  at  one 
end  of  which  was  an  iron  hook,  which  she  attached 
to  the  roof,  and  at  the  other  a  running  noose,  she 
entered  the  building  by  a  skylight  and  found  herself 
on  the  stairs  leading  to  the  gallery  of  the  hall.  She 
was  able  to  rush  in,  but  before  a  word  had  passed 
her  lips  she  was  seized  by  the  stewards,  handed  over 
to  the  police  and  driven  off  in  custody. 

Meanwhile  other  Suffragettes  were  leading  a  great 
charge  of  people  to  the  door  of  the  hall,  but  they 
too  were  arrested.  "This  was  the  second  time  that 
women  had  been  arrested  in  Scotland  in  connection 
with  Cabinet  Ministers'  meetings.  In  Glasgow,  as 
we  have  seen,  the  officials  had  escheated  the  bail  and 
allowed  the  prosecution  to  fall  to  the  ground.  Here 
in  Dundee  Miss  Kelley  and  Miss  Fraser  Smith  who 
had  also  succeeded  in  getting  into  the  hall,  were 
released,  whilst  the  women  who  had  been  arrested 
outside  were  sent  to  prison  for  from  ten  to  seven 
days  in  default  of  paying  fines  varying  from  £5  to 
£3.  They  all  refused  to  obey  the  prison  rules  and 
carried  out  the  hunger  strike,  and  were  released  on 
Friday,  the  17th  of  September,  at  10:30  P.  M.  after 
having  gone  without  food  since  the  time  of  their 
arrest  on  the  Monday. 

As  soon  as  it  had  been  announced  that  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst  and  those  arrested  with  her  were  to  go  free 
until  after  their  case  had  been  discussed  by  the  High 
Court,  she  had  made  her  way  to  Cleveland  in  York- 
shire where  a  by-election  was  taking  place  owing  to 
Mr.  Herbert  Samuel's  elevation  to  the  Cabinet  as 
Post   Master   General.     Mr.   Samuel  had  hitherto 


acted  as  Under-Secretary  at  the  Home  Office,  the 
Governmental  Department  which  was  responsible  for 
the  treatment  of  the  Suffragettes  in  prison.  Mr. 
Samuel  began  by  scoffing  at  the  opposition  of  the 
Suffragettes,  referring  to  them  as  "  wild  women 
from  Westminster";  but  the  people  of  Cleveland 
soon  became  ardent  supporters  of  the  Women's 
cause  and  flocked  eagerly  to  their  meetings.  He 
then  found  it  necessary  to  devote  large  parts  of  his 
speeches  to  combating  the  Suffragette  arguments. 
He  declared  that  it  was  a  "  wicked  calumny  "  to 
say  that  the  Government  had  sent  women  to  prison 
for  asking  for  votes  and  specially  dissociated  him- 
self from  any  part  in  the  responsibility.  At  one 
moment  he  stated  that  Mr.  Asquith  had  already 
promised  to  give  women  the  vote  and  at  another 
than  the  present  Parliament  could  not  do  it,  and 
again  and  again  he  accused  the  women  of  fighting 
with  "  Tory  Gold." 

All  this  betrayed  his  fear  that  the  women  were 
turning  votes.  Even  The  Times,  that  anti-Suffra- 
gist newspaper  which  had  always  condemned  the 
Suffragette  tactics  and  minimised  the  effect  of  their 
work,  acknowledged  now  that  their  attack  was 
damaging  the  Government  candidates'  chances,  and, 
on  July  6th,  the  special  correspondent  of  this  paper 
wrote : 

The  women  suffragists  have  made  a  favourable  impression 
upon  the  electorate  and  the  miners  specially  appear  to  have 
been  thoroughly  converted  by  the  new  propaganda.  .  .  . 
Some  miners  with  whom  I  have  talked  would  even  vote 
for  the  candidate  who  was  in  favour  of  Women^s  Suffrage 
without  respect  to  his  opinions  upon  other  subjects.  To 
put  it  more  emphatically,   a  Women's  Suffrage  candidate, 

JULY  TO  SEPTEMBER,  igog        425 

pure  and  simple,  as  a  third  candidate,  would  probably  have 
endangered  Mr.  Samuel's  re-election  quite  as  much  as  a  can- 
didate of  the  Labour  party. 

Finally  on  the  eve  of  the  poll  Mr.  Herbert 
Samuel  found  it  necessary  to  draw  up  a  special  leaf- 
let against  the  women,  the  only  one  on  any  subject 
which  was  sent  out  in  a  similar  way.  The  result  of 
the  contest  was,  as  the  Liberals  admitted,  "  disap- 
pointing "  from  their  point  of  view,  for,  although 
Mr.  Samuel  was  returned,  in  spite  of  his  added  pres- 
'tigc  as  a  Cabinet  Minister,  his  majority  was  enor- 
mously decreased. 

The  figures  were : 

Mr.  H.  Samuel,  Liberal 6,296 

Mr.  Windsor  Lewis,  Conservative. 5>325 

Liberal  majority 971 

At  the  General  Election  of  1906  Mr.  Herbert 
Samuel  had  been  returned  unopposed. 

Mr.  H.  Samuel,  Liberal 5,834 

Mr,  Jeffrey  Drage,  Conservative 3,798 

Liberal  majority 2,036 

Meanwhile  another  by-election  was  being  fought 
in  Dumfriesburgh  where  the  Liberal  majority  was 
again  reduced. 



The  Arrests  at  Birmingham;  Forcible  Feeding  in 
WiNSON  Green  Gaol.  Mr.  Keir  Hardie's  Pro- 
test; Opinions  of  Medical  Experts;  Resignation 
OF  Mr.  Brailsford  and  Mr.  Nevinson. 

And  now  on  September  17th  the  Prime  Minister 
was  going  up  to  Birmingham  to  hold  a  meeting  of 
10,000  people  at  the  great  Binglcy  Hall.  A 
**  bower  bedecked  "  special  train  was  to  carry  the 
Cabinet  Ministers  and  Members  of  Parliament  up 
north  straight  from  their  duties  in  the  House,  and 
back  again.  Tremendous  efforts  were  being  made 
to  work  up  enthusiasm  for  at  this  meeting,  Mr. 
Asquith  was  to  throw  down  his  challenge  to  the 
House  of  Lords,  to  proclaim  that  their  power  of 
veto  should  be  abolished,  and  that  the  will  of  the 
people  should  prevail.  But  the  Suffragettes  were 
determined  that,  if  the  freedom  to  voice  their  will 
were  to  be  confined  to  half  the  people  alone,  there 
should  be  no  peace  in  Birmingham  for  the  Prime 

Mrs.  Leigh  and  her  colleagues,  who  were  organ- 
ising there,  began  by  copying  the  police  methods  so 
far  as  to  address  a  warning  to  the  public  not  to  at- 
tend Mr.  Asquith's  meeting,  as  disturbances  were 
likely  to  ensue,  and  immediately  the  authorities  were 
seized  with  panic.     A  great  tarpaulin  was  stretched 


SEPTEMBER  TO  OCTOBER,  1909     427 

across  the  glass  roof  of  the  Bingley  Hall,  a  tall  fire 
escape  was  placed  on  each  side  of  the  building  and 
hundreds  of  yards  of  firemen's  hose  were  laid  across 
the  roof.  Wooden  barriers,  nine  feet  high,  were 
erected  along  the  station  platform  and  across  all  the 
leading  thoroughfares  in  the  neighbourhood,  whilst 
the  ends  of  the  streets  both  in  front  and  at  the  back 
of  Bingley  Hall  were  sealed  up  by  barricades. 
Nevertheless,  inside  those  very  sealed  up  streets, 
numbers  of  Suffragettes  had  been  lodging  for  days 
past  and  were  quietly  watching  the  arrangements. 
At  the  same  time  outside  in  the  town  a  vigorous 
propaganda  campaign  was  being  carried  on  by  their 
comrades,  and  this  culminated  in  an  enthusiastic 
Votes  for  Women  demonstration  in  the  Bull  Ring 
the  day  before  the  great  Liberal  meeting. 

When  Mr.  Asquith  left  the  House  of  Commons 
for  his  special  train,  detectives  and  policemen  hemmed 
him  in  on  every  side,  and  when  he  arrived  ^t  the 
station  in  Birmingham,  he  was  smuggled  to  the 
Queen's  Hotel  by  a  back  subway  a  quarter  of  a 
mile  in  length  and  carried  up  in  the  luggage  lift. 
In  the  hotel  he  took  his  meal  alone  in  a  private  room 
away  from  his  guests.  Though  guarded  by  a 
strong  escort  of  mounted  police  he  thought  it  wisest 
not  to  enter  the  hall  by  the  entrance  at  which  he 
had  been  expected.  Meanwhile  tremendous  crowds 
were  thronging  the  streets  and  the  ticket  holders 
were  watched  as  closely  as  spies  in  time  of  war. 
They  had  to  pass  four  barriers  and  were  squeezed 
through  them  by  a  tiny  gangway  and  then  passed  be- 
tween long  lines  of  police  and  amid  an  incessant  roar 
of  '*  show  your  ticket."  The  vast  throngs  of  peo- 
ple who  had  no  tickets  and  had  only  come  out  to 


see  the  show,  surged  against  the  barriers  like  great 
human  waves  and  occasionally  cries  of  "  Votes  for 
Women  "  were  greeted  with  deafening  cheers. 

Inside  the  hall  there  were  armies  of  stewards  and 
groups  of  police  at  every  turn.  The  meeting  be- 
gan by  the  singing  of  a  song  of  freedom  led  by 
a  band  of  trumpeters.  Then  the  Prime  Minister 
appeared.  "  For  years  past  the  people  have  been 
beguiled  with  unfulfilled  promises,"  he  declared,  but 
during  his  speech  he  was  again  and  again  reminded, 
by  men  of  the  unfulfilled  promises  which  had  been 
made  to  women;  and,  though  men  who  interrupted 
him  on  other  subjects  were  never  interfered  with, 
these  champions  of  the  Suffragettes  were,  in  every 
case,  set  upon  with  a  violence  which  was  described 
by  onlookers  as  "  revengeful,"  and  "  vicious." 
Thirteen  men  were  maltreated  in  this  way. 

Meanwhile  amid  the  vast  crowds  outside  women 
were  fighting  for  their  freedom.  Cabinet  Ministers 
had  Sheered  at  them  and  taunted  them  with  not  being 
able  to  use  physical  force.  "  Working  men  have 
flung  open  the  franchise  door  at  which  the  ladies 
are  scratching,"  Mr.  John  Burns  had  said.  So  now 
they  were  showing  that,  if  they  would,  they  could 
use  violence,  though  they  were  determined  that,  at 
any  rate  as  yet,  they  would  hurt  no  one.  Again  and 
again  they  charged  the  barricades,  one  woman  with 
a  hatchet  in  her  hand,  and  the  friendly  people  al- 
ways pressed  forward  with  them.  In  spite  of  a  thou- 
sand police  the  first  barrier  was  many  times  thrown 
down.  Whenever  a  woman  was  arrested  the  crowd 
struggled  to  secure  her  release  and  over  and  over 
again  they  were  successful,  one  woman  being  snatched 
from  the  constables  no  fewer  than  seven  times. 

SEPTEMBER  TO  OCTOBER,  1909     429 

Inside  the  hall  Mr.  Asquith  had  not  only  the  men 
to  contend  with,  for  the  meeting  had  not  long  been 
In  progress,  when  there  was  a  sudden  sound  of  splin- 
tering glass  and  a  woman's  voice  was  heard  loudly 
denouncing  the  Government.  A  missile  had  been 
thrown  through  one  of  the  ventilators  by  a  number 
of  Suffragettes  from  an  open  window  in  a  house  op- 
posite. The  police  rushed  to  the  house  door,  burst 
it  open  and  scrambled  up  the  stairs,  falling  over 
each  other  in  their  haste  to  reach  the  women,  and 
then  dragged  them  down  and  flung  them  into  the 
street  where  they  were  immediately  placed  under 
arrest.  Even  whilst  this  was  happening  there  burst 
upon  the  air  the  sound  of  an  electric  motor  horn 
which  issued  from  another  house  near  by.  Evi- 
dently there  were  Suffragettes  there  too.  The  front 
door  of  this  house  was  barricaded  and  so  also  was 
the  door  of  the  room  in  which  the  women  were,  but 
the  infuriated  Liberal  Stewards  forced  their  way 
through  and  wrested  the  instrument  from  the 
woman's  hands. 

No  sooner  was  this  effected  however  than  the  rat- 
tling of  missiles  was  heard  on  the  other  side  of 
the  hall,  and,  on  the  roof  of  a  house,  thirty  feet 
above  the  street,  lit  up  by  a  tall  electric  standard 
was  seen  the  little  agile  figure  of  Mrs.  Leigh,  with 
a  tall  fair  girl  beside  her,  both  of  whom  were  tearing 
up  the  slates  with  axes,  and  flinging  them  on  to  the 
roof  of  the  Bingley  Hall  and  down  into  the  road 
below,  always,  however,  taking  care  to  hit  no  one 
and  sounding  a  warning  before  throwing.  The 
police  cried  to  them  to  stop  and  angry  stewards  came 
rushing  out  of  the  hall  to  second  this  demand,  but 
the  women  calmly  went  on  with  their  work.     A  lad- 


der  was  produced  and  the  men  prepared  to  mount  it, 
but  the  only  reply  was  a  warning  to  "  be  careful  " 
and  all  present  felt  that  discretion  was  the  better 
part  of  valour.  Then  the  jfire  hose  was  dragged 
forward,  but  the  firemen  refused  to  turn  it  on,  and 
so  the  police  themselves  played  it  on  the  women  until 
they  were  drenched  to  the  skin.  The  slates  had 
now  become  terribly  slippery,  and  the  women  were 
in  great  danger  of  sliding  from  the  steep  roof,  but 
they  had  already  taken  off  their  shoes  and  so  con- 
trived to  retain  a  foothold,  and  without  intermission 
they  continued  "  firing  "  slates.  Finding  that  water 
had  no  power  to  subdue  them,  their  opponents  re- 
taliated by  throwing  bricks  and  stones  up  at  the  two 
women,  but,  instead  of  trying,  as  they  had  done  to 
avoid  hitting,  the  men  took  good  aim  at  them  and 
soon  blood  was  running  down  the  face  of  the  tall 
girl,  Charlotte  Marsh,  and  both  had  been  struck  sev- 
eral times. 

At  last  Mr.  Asquith  had  said  his  say  and  came 
hurrying  out  of  the  building.  A  slate  was  hurled 
at  the  back  of  his  car  as  it  drove  away,  and  then 
**  firing  "  ceased  from  the  roof  for  the  Cabinet  Min- 
ister was  gone.  Seeing  that  they  had  now  nothing 
to  fear  the  police  at  once  placed  a  ladder  against  the 
house  and  scrambled  up  to  bring  the  Suffragettes 
down  and  then,  without  allowing  them  to  put  on 
their  shoes,  they  marched  them  through  the  streets, 
in  their  stockinged  feet,  the  blood  streaming  from 
their  wounds  and  their  wet  garments  clinging  to 
their  limbs.  At  the  police  station  bail  was  refused 
and  the  two  women  were  sent  to  the  cells  to  pass  the 
night  in  their  drenched  clothing. 

Meanwhile,  amid  the  hooting  of  the  crowd,  Mn 

SEPTEMBER  TO  OCTOBER,  igog     431 

Asquith  had  driven  away  through  the  town  and  as 
the  special  train  in  which  he  was  to  return  to  London, 
left  the  station,  a  shower  of  small  stones  rattled 
against  his  carriage  window,  whilst  a  great  bar  of 
iron  was  flung  into  an  empty  compartment  in  the 
rear.  The  two  women  who  had  done  these  things 
were  at  once  seized  by  the  police  and  were  also 
obliged  to  pass  the  night  in  the  cells,  whilst  six  who 
had  been  arrested  in  the  crowd  earlier,  met  the  same 

Eventually  eight  of  the  women  received  sentences 
of  imprisonment  varying  from  one  month  to  four- 
teen days,  whilst  Charlotte  Marsh  was  sent  to  prison 
for  three  months'  hard  labour,  and  Mrs.  Leigh  for 
four.  We  knew  that  Mrs.  Leigh  and  her  comrades 
in  the  Birmingham  Prison  would  carry  out  the 
hunger  strike,  and,  on  the  following  Friday,  Sep- 
tember 24th,  reports  appeared  in  the  Press  that  the 
Government  had  resorted  to  the  horrible  expedient 
of  feeding  them  by  force  by  means  of  a  tube  passed 
into  the  stomach.  Filled  with  concern  the  committee 
of  the  Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  at  once 
applied  both  to  the  prison  and  to  the  Home  Office 
to  know  if  this  were  true  but  all  information  was 

The  W.  S.  P.  U.  now  made  inquiries  as  to 
the  probable  results  of  this  treatment,  and  were  in- 
formed that  it  was  liable  to  cause  laceration  of 
the  throat  and  grave  and  permanent  injury  to  the 
digestive  functions,  and  that,  especially  if  the  patient 
should  resist,  as  the  tube  was  being  inserted  or  with- 
drawn there  was  serious  danger  of  its  going  astray 
and  penetrating  the  lungs  or  some  other  vital  part. 
The  whole  operation,  together  with  all  the  attendant 


circumstances,  could  not  fail  to  put  a  most  excessive 
strain  upon  the  heart  and  the  entire  nervous  system, 
and,  if  there  were  any  heart  weakness,  death  might 
ensue  at  any  moment.  In  the  Lancet  for  September 
28th,  1872,  a  case  was  reported  of  a  man  under 
sentence  of  death,  who  had  been  forcibly  fed  by 
means  of  the  stomach  pump,  that  is  to  say  by  means 
of  an  india-rubber  tube  passed  through  the  mouth 
into  the  stomach,  the  method  used  in  the  case  of  the 
Suffragettes.  The  man  had  died.  In  the  same  issue 
of  the  Lancet,  appeared  the  opinion  upon  this  ques- 
tion of  several  prominent  medical  men.  Dr.  Ander- 
son Moxey,  M.D.,  M.R.C.P.,  had  said:  **  If  any- 
one were  to  ask  me  to  name  the  worst  possible  treat- 
ment for  suicidal  starvation  I  should  say  unhesita- 
tingly, forcible  feeding  by  means  of  the  stomach 
pump."  Dr.  Tennant  stated  that  this  method  of 
feeding  produced  *'  an  incentive  to  resistance,"  and 
that  the  exhaustion  thereby  introduced  was  some- 
times so  great  as  to  cause  death  by  syncope.  Dr. 
Russell  had  met  with  a  case  in  which  death  had  oc- 
curred immediately  after  the  placing  of  the  tube 
"before  it  could  be  withdrawn,  much  less  used"; 
and  Dr.  ConoUy  was  "  appalled  by  the  dangers 
resulting  from  the  forcible  administration  of  food 
by  the  mouth."  Amongst  the  various  important 
medical  experts  consulted  by  The  Women's  Social 
and  Political  Union  was  Dr.  Forbes  Winslow,  whose 
wide  experience  in  cases  of  insanity  could  not  be 
questioned.  When  asked  professionally  to  give  his 
views  on  the  subject  he  said: 

So  far  as  the  stomach  pump  is  concerned  it  is  an  instru- 
ment I  have  long  ago  discontinued  using,  even  in  the  most 

Forcible  Feeding  with  the  Nasal  Tube 

SEPTEMBER  TO  OCTOBER,  igog     433 

serious  cases  of  melancholia,  where  the  victim,  perhaps  from 
some  religious  delusion,  refuses  all  nourishment.  It  possibly 
may  be  regarded  by  some  as  the  most  simple  means  of  ad- 
ministering food,  but  this  I  challenge  by  saying  at  once  that  it 
is  the  most  complicated  and  the  most  dangerous.  .  .  . 
I  have  known  some  of  the  most  serious  injuries  inflicted 
by  the  persistent  use  of  the  stomach  pump.  I  have  known  a 
case  in  which  the  tongue  has  been  partly  bitten  off  where 
it  has  been  twisted  behind  the  feeding  tube. 

He  added  that  forcible  feeding  was  especially  dangerous 
in  cases  of  heart  or  lung  weakness  or  of  rupture  or  hernia, 
and  that  the  result  of  persistent  use  would  be  to  seriously 
injure  the  constitution,  to  lacerate  the  parts  surrounding  the 
mouth,  to  break  and  ruin  the  teeth. 

When  the  House  of  Commons  met  on  Monday 
we  learnt  that  our  fears  were  only  too  well  founded 
for  Mr.  Keir  Hardie  drew  from  Mr.  Masterman, 
who  spoke  on  the  Home  Secretary's  behalf,  the  ad- 
mission that  the  Suffragettes  in  Winson  Green  Gaol 
were  being  forcibly  fed  by  means  of  a  tube  which 
was  passed  through  the  mouth  and  into  the  stomach 
and  through  which  the  food  was  pumped.  The  un- 
precedented and  outrageous  nature  of  the  assault 
was  glossed  over  by  the  use  of  the  term,  "  Hospital 
treatment,"  in  connection  with  it.  Mr.  Masterman 
admitted,  however,  that  there  were  no  regulations 
which  authorised  the  proceeding,  but  he  stated  that 
it  was  resorted  to  in  the  case  of  men  and  women 
prisoners  who  were  "weak  minded"  or  "contuma- 

Mr.  Hardie's  indignant  protest  and  reminder  that 
the  last  man  prisoner  to  whom  such  treatment  had 
been  meted  out  had  died  under  it,  were  met  with 
shouts  of  laughter  by  the  supporters  of  the  Govern- 



ment.  Horrified  by  their  heartless  and  unseemly 
levity  in  the  face  of  so  serious  a  question,  he  at  once 
addressed  a  statement  to  the  Press  in  which  he  de- 
clared that  he  *'  could  not  have  believed  that  a  body 
of  gentlemen  could  have  found  reason  for  mirth 
and  applause  "  in  a  scene  which  had  "  no  parallel  in 
the  recent  history  of  our  country."  As  far  as  he 
could  le^fn,  no  power  to  feed  by  force  had  been 
given  to  prison  authorities,  save  in  the  case  of  per- 
sons certified  to  be  insane.  He  concluded  by  warn- 
ing the  public  of  the  danger  that  one  of  the  pris- 
oners would  succumb  to  the  so-called  "  hospital 
treatment,"  and  by  appealing  to  the  people  of  these 
islands  to  speak  out  ere  our  annals  had  been  stained 
by  such  a  tragedy. 

Others  hastened  to  second  this  protest.  Mr.  C. 
Mansell-MouUin,  M.D.,  F.R.C.S.,  wrote  to  The 
Times,  as  a  hospital  surgeon  of  thirty  years'  stand- 
ing, to  indignantly  repudiate  Mr.  Masterman's  use 
of  the  term  "  hospital  treatment,"  declaring  that  it 
was  a  "  foul  libel "  for  that  "  violence  and  brutality 
have  no  place  in  hospitals  as  Mr.  Masterman  ought 
to  know."  Dr.  Forbes  Ross  of  Harley  Street  wrote 
to  the  Press  saying: 

As  a  medical  man,  without  any  particular  feeling  for  the 
cause  of  the  Suffragettes,  I  consider  that  forcible  feeding 
by  the  methods  employed  is  an  act  of  brutality  beyond  com- 
mon endurance,  and  I  am  astounded  that  it  is  possible  for 
Members  of  Parliament,  with  mothers,  wives  and  sisters  of 
their  own,  to  allow  it. 

A  memorial  signed  by  1 1 6  doctors,  headed  by  Sir 
Victor  Horsley,  F.R.C.S.,  W.  Hugh  Fenton,  M.D. 
M.A.,  C.  Mansell-MouUin,  M.D.,  F.R.C.S.,  Forbes 

SEPTEMBER  TO  OCTOBER,  1909     435 

Winslow,  M.D.,  and  Alexander  Haig,  M.D., 
F.R.C.P.,  was  organised  by  Dr.  Flora  Murray  and 
addressed  to  Mr.  Asquith,  protesting  against  the 
artificial  feeding  of  the  Suffragette  prisoners,  on  the 
ground  that  it  was  attended  by  the  gravest  risks  and 
was  both  unwise  and  inhuman.  To  this  memorial 
many  of  the  doctors  added  descriptive  notes  of  their 
own.  Mr.  W.  A.  Davidson,  M.D.,  F.R.C.S.,  wrote: 
"  A  most  cruel  and  brutal  procedure.  Were  the 
tubes  clean?  Were  they  new?  If  not  they  have 
probably  been  used  for  people  suffering  from  some 
disease.  The  inside  of  the  tube  cannot  well  be 
cleaned;  very  often  the  trouble  is  not  taken  to  clean 
them."  1 

In  spite  of  every  form  of  discouragement  and 
ridicule,  Mr.  Keir  Hardie  continued  constantly  to 
raise  the  question  of  forcible  feeding  in  the  House 
of  Commons  only  to  be  met  by  evasive,  and  some- 
times grossly,  inaccurate  replies  from  the  Home 
Office.  Mr.  Gladstone  tried  to  shelter  himself  be- 
hind the  officials  who  were  his  subordinates,  and  to^ 
place  the  responsibility  on  the  medical  officers. 
For  this  he  was  strongly  condemned  by  the  British 
Medical  Journal  which  characterised  his  conduct  as 

In  reply  to  the  protests  of  medical  men  and  the 

1  Mr.  Gladstone  afterwards  stated  in  the  House  that  the  tubes 
were  carefully  cleaned  and  kept  in  boracic  solution  between 
each  operation,  but  Miss  Dorothy  Pethick,  who  was  imprisoned 
in  Newcastle,  saw  the  tube  lying  open  and  exposed  in  a  basket 
in  the  reception  room. 

2  The  British  Journal  of  Nursing  stated  that  even  under  the 
most  favourable  circumstances  forcible  feeding  required  "  deli- 
cate manipulation,"  and  that  it  was  an  operation  which  should 
only  be  performed  by  medical  practitioners  or  trained  nurses 


memorial  from  doctors,  which  had  been  addressed 
to  him,  Mr.  Gladstone  succeeded  in  drawing  a  state- 
ment from  Sir  Richard  Douglas  Powell,  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  Royal  College  of  Physicians,  who  said 
that  he  thought  the  memorial  exaggerated,  though 
he  admitted  that  forcible  feeding  was  not  *'  wholly 
free  from  possibilities  of  accident  with  those  who 
resist."  He  added  that,  in  dissenting  from  the  view 
expressed  by  the  memorialists,  he  was  assuming  that 
the  feeding  of  the  prison  patients  was  "  entirely  car- 
ried out  by  skilled  nursing  attendants  under  careful 
medical  observation  and  control."  We,  of  course, 
know  thajt  this  was  not  the  case. 

A  large  number  of  doctors,  including  Dr.  R.  G. 
Layton,  physician  to  the  Walsall  hospital,  replied  to 
Sir  Douglas  Powell  by  again  recapitulating  the  dan- 
gers of  forcible  feeding.  But  indeed  the  opinions 
of  medical  men  were  unnecessary  to  those  who  after- 
wards came  in  contact  with  the  women  who  had  been 
forcibly  fed.  Their  exhausted  condition  was  a  form 
of  evidence  that  no  argument  could  upset.  It  is  im- 
portant to  note  also  that  during  the  year  19  lo  two 
ordinary  criminals,  a  man  and  a  woman,  were  sub- 
jected to  forcible  feeding.  The  man  died  during 
the  first  operation;  the  woman  committed  suicide 
after  the  second. 

Meanwhile  the  bulk  of  the  Liberal  Press  were 
defending  the  action  of  their  Government. 
The  Daily  News  had  acclaimed  .Vera  Figner  for 
assaulting  one  of  the  Russian  prison  officials  in  order 
to  secure  better  conditions  for  her  fellow  captives. 
It  had  characterised  as  the  "  one  healthy  symptom 

and  pointed  out  that  the  prison  wardresses  were  quite  unquali- 
fied to  take  part  in  it. 

SEPTEMBER  TO  OCTOBER,  1909    437 

in  Spain  "  the  revolt  of  the  Spanish  people  against 
their  Government  in  regard  to  the  Riffian  War 
though  this  revolt  had  entailed  the  burning  down  of 
convents  full  of  women  and  children  who  were 
in  no  way  responsible  for  the  trouble,  and  other 
dread  acts  of  violence.  At  the  same  time  in  re- 
gard to  events  at  home  this  paper  was  declaring  that, 
if  the  House  of  Lords  were  to  tamper  with  the  Irish 
Land  Bill,  there  would  be  "no  wonder  if  all  the  old 
methods  of  cattle-driving  and  other  violence  were 
revived  in  Ireland."  Yet  the  Daily  News  had  had 
nothing  but  chiding  and  dispraise  for  the  hunger 
strikers,  and,  in  regard  to  forcible  feeding,  it  now 
said,  "  it  is  the  only  alternative  to  allowing  the 
women  to  starve  themselves."  Thus  the  two  most 
obvious  ways  out  of  the  difficulty,  firstly,  that  of 
treating  the  women  as  political  prisoners,  and, 
secondly,  the  more  reasonable  one  of  extending  the 
franchise  to  women  and  thus  ending  the  strife,  were 
entirely  ignored. 

Revolted  by  the  hypocritical  and  inconsistent  at- 
titude of  this  paper,  two  of  its  foremost  leader 
writers  and  of  the  ablest  journalists  in  this  country, 
Mr.  Henry  Nevinson  and  Mr.  H.  N.  Brailsford, 
resigned  their  posts  upon  its  staff,  writing  publicly  to 
explain  their  reasons  for  so  doing.  Many  sincere 
Liberals  resigned  their  memberships  and  official  posts 
under  the  Liberal  Association  including  the  Rev.  J. 
M.  Lloyd  Thomas,  Minister  of  the  High  Pavement 
Chapel,  Nottingham,  resigned  from  the  Liberal  As- 
sociation, and  there  were  many  other  resignations, 
among  them  the  following:  Mrs.  Catherine  C. 
Osier,  the  President,  Miss  Gertrude  E.  Sothall,  the 
Hon.  Sec,  and  Mrs.  Alice  Yoxall,  the  Treasurer  of 


the  Birmingham  Women's  Liberal  Association; 
Mrs.  S.  Reid,  the  chairman  of  the  Egbaston 
Women's  Liberal  Association;  Lady  Blake,  the 
President  of  the  Berwick  Women's  Liberal  Asso- 
ciation; and  Mrs.  Branch,  one  of  the  most  promi- 
nent members  of  the  Northampton  Women's  Liberal 
Association.  At  the  same  time  prominent  men  and 
women  of  all  shades  of  opinion,  including  Mrs. 
Ayrton,  Flora  Annie  Steel,  Lady  Betty  Balfour,  the 
Rev.  J.  R.  Campbell  and  the  Hon.  H.  B.  T.  Strange- 
ways,  ex-premier  of  South  Australia  appealed  to  the 
Government  to  give  votes  to  women  and  bring  this 
useless  warfare  to  an  end. 

Meanwhile,  except  for  the  admissions  of  Mr. 
Gladstone  and  Mr.  Masterman  in  the  House  of 
Commons,  nothing  definite  was  known  as  to  the  con- 
dition of  the  outraged  prisoners.  No  direct  com- 
munication had  been  held  with  them  and  even  a 
petition  from  their  parents  and  relatives  to  be  al- 
lowed to  send  their  own  medical  attendant  into  the 
prison,  had  been  refused.  The  fearful  anxiety  and 
suspense  endured  by  all  concerned  may  well  be 
imagined.  Again  and  again  Messrs.  Hatchett, 
Jones,  Bisgood  and  Marschall,  the  solicitors  engaged 
to  act  on  the  prisoners'  behalf,  applied  for  permission 
to  interview  their  clients,  but  Mr.  Gladstone  ob- 
stinately refused  until  he  was  informed  that  legal 
proceedings  were  being  taken  for  assault  against  him 
and  the  Governor  and  Doctor  of  the  Birmingham 
Prison,  and  that  writs  were  being  issued,  and  that 
Miss  Laura  Ainsworth  would  shortly  be  released  so 
that  the  full  details  would  be  known  in  any  case. 
Thus  at  last  he  grudingly  consented  to  the  inter- 
view, and  sworn  statements  were  made  by  all  the 

SEPTEMBER  TO  OCTOBER,  igog    439 

women.  Mrs.  Leigh  explained  that  on  arriving  at 
WInson  Green  Gaol  on  Wednesday,  September  22nd, 
she  had  broken  her  cell  windows  as  a  protest  against 
the  prison  treatment.  As  a  punishment  she  was  thrust 
that  evening  into  a  cold  dimly  lit  punishment  cell. 
A  plank  bed  was  brought  in  and  she  was  forcibly 
stripped  and  handcuffed  with  the  hands  behind 
during  the  day,  except  at  meal  times  when  the  palms 
were  placed  together  in  front.  At  night  the  hands 
were  fastened  in  front  with  the  palms  out.  Pota- 
toes, bread  and  gruel  were  brought  into  her  cell 
on  Thursday  but  she  did  not  touch  them  and  in  the 
afternoon  she  was  taken,  still  handcuffed,  before  the 
magistrates  who  sentenced  her  to  a  further  nine  days 
in  the  punishment  cell.  At  midnight  on  Thursday, 
her  wrists  being  terribly  swollen  and  painful,  the 
handcuffs  were  removed. 

She  still  refused  food  ^nd  on  Saturday  she  was 
taken  to  the  doctor's  room.  Here  is  her  account  of 
the  affair : 

The  doctor  said :  "  You  must  listen  carefully  to  what 
I  have  to  say.  I  have  my  orders  from  my  superior  offi- 
cers" (he  had  a  blue  official  paper  in  his  hand  to  which 
he  referred)  "  that  you  are  not  to  be  released  even  on  med- 
ical grounds.  If  you  still  refrain  from  food  I  must  take 
other  measures  to  compel  you  to  take  it."  I  then  said: 
"  I  refuse,  and  if  you  force  food  on  me,  I  want  to  know 
how  you  are  going  to  do  it."  He  said :  "  That  is  a  matter 
for  me  to  decide."  I  said  that  he  must  prove  that  I  was 
insane;  that  the  Lunacy  Commissioners  would  have  to  be 
summoned  to  prove  that  I  was  insane.  I  declared  that  for- 
cible feeding  was  an  operation,  and  therefore  could  not  be 
performed  without  a  sane  patient's  consent.  He  merely 
bowed  and  said:     "Those  are  my  orders." 


She  was  then  surrounded  and  held  down,  whilst 
the  chair  was  tilted  backwards.  She  clenched  her 
teeth  but  the  doctor  pulled  her  mouth  away  to  form 
a  pouch  and  the  wardress  poured  in  milk  and  brandy 
some  of  which  trickled  in  through  the  crevices. 
Later  in  the  day  the  doctors  and  wardresses 
again  appeared.  They  forced  her  down  on  to  the 
bed,  and  held  her  there.  One  of  the  doctors  then 
produced  a  tube  two  yards  in  length  with  a 
glass  junction  in  the  centre  and  a  funnel  at  one  end. 
He  forced  the  other  end  of  the  tube  up*  her  nostril, 
hurting  her  so  terribly  that  the  matron  and  two  >s^ 
the  wardresses  burst  into  tears  and  the  seconay 
doctor  interfered.  At  last  the  tube  was  pushed 
down  into  the  stomach.  She  felt  the  pain  of 
it  to  the  end  of  the  breast  bone.  Then  one  of  the 
doctors  stood  upon  a  chair  holding  the  funnel 
end  of  the  tube  at  arm's  length  and  poured  food 
down  whilst  the  wardresses  and  the  other  doc- 
tor all  gripped  her  tight.  She  felt  as  though  she 
would  suffocate.  There  was  a  rushing,  burning  sen- 
sation in  her  head,  the  drums  of  her  ears  seemed  to  * 
be  bursting.  The  agony  of  pain  in  the  throat  and  i 
breast  bone  continued.  The  thing  seemed  to  go  \ 
on  for  hours.  When  at  last  the  tube  was  withdrawn, 
she  felt  as  though  all  the  back  of  her  nose  and  throat ' 
were  being  torn  out  with  it. 

Then  almost  fainting  she  was  carried  back  to  the 
punishment  cell  and  put  to  bed.  For  hours  the  pain 
in  the  chest,  nose  and  ears  continued  and  she 
felt  terribly  sick  and  faint.  Day  after  day  the 
struggle  continued;  she  used  no  violence  but  each 
time  resisted  and  was  overcome  by  force  of  numbers. 
Often  she  vomited  during  the  operation.     When  the 


SEPTEMBER  TO  OCTOBER,  1909    441 

food  did  not  go  down  quickly  enough  the  doctor 
pinched  her  nose  with  the  tube  in  it  causing  her  even 
greater  pain. 

On  Tuesday  afternoon  she  heard  Miss  Edwards, 
one  of  her  fellow  prisoners,  cry  from  an  open  door- 
way opposite,  "  Locked  in  a  padded  cell  since  Sun- 
day." Then  the  door  was  shut.  She  applied  to 
see  the  visiting  magistrates,  and  appealed  to  them 
on  behalf  of  her  comrade,  saying  that  she  knew  her 
to  have  a  weak  heart,  but  was  told  that  no  prisoner 
could  interfere  on  another's  behalf.  She  protested 
by  breaking  the  windows  of  the  hospital  cell  to 
which,  owing  to  her  weakness,  she  had  now  been 
taken,  and  was  then  thrust  into  the  padded  cell 
as  Miss  Edwards  was  taken  from  it,  the  bed  which 
she  had  occupied  being  still  warm.  The  padded 
cell  was  lined  with  some  India  rubber-like  stuff,  and 
she  felt  as  though  she  would  suffocate  for  want 
of  air.  She  was  kept  there  till  Wednesday,  still 
being  fed  by  force. 

On  Saturday  she  felt  that  she  could  endure 
the  agony  of  it  no  longer,  and  determined  to  bar- 
ricade her  cell.  She  piled  up  her  bed  and  chair, 
but  after  three  hours  men  warders  forced  the  door 
open  with  spades.  Then  the  chief  warder  threat- 
ened and  abused  her  and  she  was  dragged  back  to  the 
padded  cell. 

In  Miss  Ainsworth's  case  the  feeding  was  done 
through  the  mouth.  Her  jaws  were  pried  open 
with  a  steel  instrument  to  allow  of  the  gag  being 
placed  between  her  teeth.  She  experienced  great 
sickness,  especially  when  the  tube  was  being  with- 

Miss    Hilda    Burkitt's    experiences    were    very 


dreadful.  She  had  already  fasted  four  days  and 
was  extremely  weak  when  she  was  seized  by  two 
doctors,  four  wardresses  and  the  matron,  who  tried 
for  more  than  half  an  hour  to  force  her  to  swallow 
from  the  feeding  cup.  Then  a  tube  was  forced  up 
her  nose,  but  she  succeeded  in  coughing  it  back 
twice  and  at  last,  very  near  collapse,  she  was  car- 
ried to  her  cell  and  put  to  bed  by  the  wardresses. 
**  This  will  kill  me  sooner  than  starving,"  she  said, 
"  I  cannot  stand  much  more  of  it,  but  I  am  proud 
you  have  not  beaten  me  yet."  Still  suffering 
greatly  in  head,  nose  and  throat,  she  was  left  alone 
for  half  an  hour  and  the  matron  and  wardresses 
then  returned  to  persuade  her  to  take  fogd.  On 
her  refusal  they  said,  "  Well,  you  will  have  to  come 
again;  they  are  waiting."  "  Oh,  surely  not  the  tor- 
ture chamber  again,"  she  cried;  but  they  lifted  her 
out  of  bed  and  carried  her  back  to  the  doctors,  who 
again  attempted  to  force  her  to  drink  from  the  feed- 
ing cup.  Still  she  was  able  to  resist  and  then  one 
of  them  said,  **  The  Home  Office  has  given  me 
every  power  to  use  what  force  I  like.  I  am  going 
to  use  the  stomach  pump."  "  It  is  illegal  and  an 
assault;  I  shall  prosecute  you,"  was  her  reply,  but 
as  she  spoke  a  gag  was  forced  into  her  mouth  and  the 
tube  followed.  She  had  almost  fainted  and  felt 
as  if  she  were  going  to  die,  and  now  for  some  reason 
the  tube  was  withdrawn  without  having  been  used, 
but  in  her  great  weakness  the  officials  were  now 
able  to  overcome  her  resistance  and  to  pour  liquid 
into  her  mouth  with  the  feeding  cup. 

This  sort  of  thing  went  on  day  after  day.  On 
Thursday  morning  she  was  unconscious  when  they 
came  into  her  cell,  and  they  succeeded  in  feeding  her. 

SEPTEMBER. TO  OCTOBER,  1909    443 


During  the  night  she  was  in  agony.  She  told  the 
doctor  he  had  given  her  too  much  food  and  cried: 
"  For  mercy's  sake,  let  me  be,  I  am  too  tired,"  but 
brandy  and  Benger's  food  were  forcibly  adminis- 
tered. During  the  whole  month  she  only  slept  four 

But  the  story  of  these  sufferings  had  no  power 
to  influence  the  Government.  They  were  deter- 
mined to  persevere  with  the  forcible  feeding  and 
were  so  far  from  abandoning  this  hateful  form  of 
torture,  that,  evidently  thinking  the  women  who 
had  won  their  way  out  of  prison  by  the  hunger 
strike  had  been  let  off  too  easily,  they  proceeded  to 
rearrest  a  number  of  them  upon  the  most  flimsy 
charges.  Evelyn  Wurrie,  who  had  been  arrested 
with  Mrs.  Leigh  and  the  others,  but  afterwards 
discharged  by  the  magistrate,  had  been  refused  bail 
between  the  time  of  her  arrest  and  trial  and  kept  for 
seventeen  hours  as  an  ordinary  prisoner  in  the  insan- 
itary police  court  cells.  She  might  have  been 
thought,  therefore,  to  be  entitled  to  claim  damages 
for  wrongful  arrest  and  detention,  but  was  neverthe- 
less rearrested  because  she  had  broken  the  cell  win- 
dow to  obtain  more  air,  and  was  sentenced  either  to 
pay  a  fine  of  eleven  shillings  or  go  to  prison  for  seven 
days.  She  chose  imprisonment,  but  her  fine  was  paid 
by  a  member  of  the  Birmingham  Liberal  Club. 
Miss  Rona  Robinson,  Miss  Florence  Clarkson,  Miss 
Georgina  Heallis  and  Miss  Bertha  Brewster,  who 
had  all  gone  through  the  hunger  strike  in  Liverpool, 
were  also  summoned  for  breaking  their  cell  windows, 
in  spite  of  the  fact  that  they  had  already  been  se- 
verely punished  in  prison  for  these  offences.  On 
their  refusal  to  answer  to  the  summons,  warrants  wer^ 



issued  for  their  arrest.  Rona  Robinson,  who  was 
said  to  have  committed  damage  to  ^the  extent  of 
two  shillings,  was  arrested  on  October  15th  in  Man- 
chester, and  was  taken  the  same  night  to  Liverpool. 
Though  her  doctor  had  certified  her  to  be  suffering 
from  laryngeal  catarrh  and  a  weak,  irregular  action 
of  the  heart,  she  was  sent  back  to  prison  for  four- 
teen days'  imprisonment  in  the  third  division.  Owing 
to  the  state  of  her  health,  the  Liverpool  authori- 
ties refused  to  take  the  responsibility  of  feeding  her 
by  force  and  she  was  accordingly  released  after  a 
fast  of  seventy-two  hours. 

The  other  warrants  were  not  executed  for  some 
time;  that  against  Miss  Florence  Clarkson  being  held 
over  until  December,  when  she  happened  to  notify 
the  Manchester  police  of  a  burglary  that  had  taken 
place  in  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  offices  in  that  city.  She 
was  then  immediately  arrested  on  the  old  charge; 
bail  was  refused  and  she  was  kept  in  custody  from 
Saturday  to  Monday,  when  she  was  punished  by  a 
further  fortnight's  imprisonment  for  having  com- 
mitted damage  to  the  value  of  6d.  three  months 
before.  After  three  days  (on  December  15th),  she 
was  rdeased  in  a  state  of  complete  collapse.  The 
warrant  against  Miss  Bertha  Brewster  was  held  over 
until  January,  when  she  was  sentenced  to  six  weeks' 
hard  labour  to  pay  for  her  3/9  damage. 

OCTOBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  1910 

Arrest  of  Lady  Constance  Lytton  and  Others  at 
Newcastle.  Suffragettes  Attacked  at  Aber- 
nethy.  Hose  Pipe  Played  on  Miss  Davison  in 
Strangeways  Gaol,  Manchester.  Mr.  Asquith  at 
THE  Albert  Hall. 

Whilst  our  comrades  were  thus  enduring  ago- 
nies in  prison,  protest  meetings  were  being  held  in  all 
parts  of  the  country.  The  Daily  News  said  of  the 
people  in  our  movement:  "  They  are  no  longer  men 
and  women;  they  are  a  whirlwind." 

During  the  first  three  days  of  forcible  feeding 
£1,200  was  collected.  At  a  great  demonstration  in 
the  Albert  Hall  on  October  7th,  a  further  £2,300 
was  subscribed,  and  the  £50,000  campaign  fund  be- 
ing complete,  a  fund  of  £100,000  was  started.  At 
this  meeting  a  procession  of  women  who  had  already 
gone  through  the  hunger  strike  marched  up  to  the 
platform  carrying  the  purple,  white  and  green  tri- 
coloured  flags  of  the  Union,  and  here  Mrs.  Pank- 
hurst,  who  was  on  the  eve  of  her  departure  for  Amer- 
ica, decorated  them  with  medals  in  recognition  of 
their  services  to  the  cause.  The  scene  was  one  of 
the  most  tremendous  enthusiasm;  it  was  one  which 
none  of  those  present  will  ever  forget. 

On  October  9th  a  great  political  pageant  was  held 
in  Edinburgh,  when  a  procession  of  women,  led  by 



Scotch  pipers  and  Mrs.  Drummond  in  her  general's 
uniform,  astride  a  prancing  charger,  marched 
through  the  streets,  accompanied  by  a  number  of 
tableaux  representing  the  figures  of  heroic  women 
famous  in  Scottish  history. 

On  October  4th,  Lord  Morley,  as  Chancellor  of 
the  Victoria  University,  visited  Manchester  to  open 
the  University's  new  chemical  laboratory.  Deeply 
moved  by  the  suflFerings  of  Mrs.  Leigh  and  her  com- 
rades in  Winson  Green  Gaol,  Miss  Rona  Robinson, 
M.Sc,  and  Miss  Dora  Marsden,  B.A.,  both  grad- 
uates of  the  University,  and  the  former  a  subscriber 
also  to  the  new  laboratory,  attended  in  their  aca- 
demic robes,  and,  with  Miss  Mary  Gawthorpe,  ad- 
vanced down  the  central  aisle  of  the  Whitworth  Hall 
of  the  University,  just  as  Lord  Morley  was  about  to 
speak.  Each  one  raising  a  hand  in  appeal,  they  said 
in  concert:     **  My  Lord,  our  women  are  in  prison." 

The  rowdiness  of  the  young  men  students  of  our 
British  universities  is  time-honoured;  their  almost 
deafening  shouts  and  yells  and  practical  jokes,  al- 
ways in  evidence  at  functions  such  as  this,  are 
invariably  received  with  amused  tolerance  by  the 
authorities.  Mr.  Asquith  himself,  when  addressing 
the  students  of  the  University  of  which  he  is  Chancel- 
lor, did  not  disdain  to  wait  with  a  smile  until  their 
play  was  done  before  he  could  address  them. 
Nevertheless  the  earnest,  quietly-spoken  words  of 
these  three  young  women  were  scarcely  uttered  when 
they  were  pounced  upon  by  a  number  of  strange 
men,  who  dragged  them  out  of  the  Hall,  and  as 
soon  as  they  were  lost  to  sight  by  the  audience,  fell 
to  striking,  pummelling,  and  pinching  them,  as  they 
pushed  them  into  the  street.     The  passers-by  rushed 


OCTOBER,  igoQ,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    447 

up  to  know  what  had  happened,  and  at  once  the  po- 
lice ordered  the  three  women  to  move  on.  They  re- 
plied that  they  would  not  leave  until  their  graduates' 
caps  and  other  belongings,  which  had  been  torn  from 
them,  were  restored,  and  until  the  names  of 
the  men  who  had  ejected  them  were  given.  There- 
upon, without  further  argument,  the  police  seized 
them  and  dragged  them  to  the  police  station,  where 
they  were  accused  of  disorderly  conduct  and  abusive 
language,  in  Oxford  Street.  These  ridiculous 
charges  could  not  be  substantiated  and  were  after- 
wards withdrawn  by  the  Chief  Constable  of  Man- 
chester and  the  Vice  Chancellor  of  the  University. 

Such  women  as  Mrs.  Baines  and  Mrs.  Leigh,  both 
capable  of  the  firiest  zeal  and  the  most  reckless  hero- 
ism, spurred  on  by  stern  first-hand  knowledge  of  the 
crushing  handicaps  with  which  the  woman  wage- 
earner  has  to  contend,  and  the  terrible  disabilities 
which  are  rivetted  upon  her,  had  found  it  not  diffi- 
cult to  become  rebels.  The  torture  of  women  in 
prison  was  now  making  it  easy  for  gentler  and  hap- 
pier spirits  to  cast  aside  also  the  mere  going  on  depu- 
tations and  asking  of  questions  and,  whilst  doing 
hurt  to  none,  yet  by  symbolic  acts  to  shadow  forth 
the  violence  that  coercion  always  breeds. 

On  October  9th  Mr.  Lloyd  George  was  to  speak 
at  Newcastle  and  the  town  was  prepared  as  though 
for  a  revolution.  Police  and  detectives  were  to 
be  seen  in  hundreds  and  great  barriers  were 
erected  across  the  streets.  The  night  before  the 
meeting  twelve  women  met  quietly  together  to 
lay  their  plans  fpr  opposing  these  tremendous  forces. 
Amongst  them  was  Lady  Constance  Lytton,  who 
had  already  served  one  imprisonment  for  the  cause 


in  the  previous  February,  and  who,  as  daughter  and 
sister  of  an  English  peer,  wished  to  place  herself 
side  by  side  with  Mrs.  Leigh,  the  working  woman 
who  was  being  tortured  in  Birmingham, —  to  do  what 
she  had  done,  prepared  to  suffer  the  same  penalty. 
Mrs.  J.  E.  M.  Brailsford,  who  had  joined  the 
Women's  Social  &  Political  Union  but  a  few 
weeks  before,  was  another  who  had  come  forward 
to  bear  her  share  in  this  fight.  (It  was  Mrs.  Brails- 
ford's  husband  who  with  Mr.  Nevinson  had  recently 
thrown  up  his  post  as  leader  writer  to  the  Dally 
News,  because  of  his  sympathy  with  the  Suffra- 
gettes). Amongst  these  women  were  also  two  hos- 
pital nurses,  whilst  two  of  the  others,  Miss  Kath- 
leen Brown  and  Miss  Dorothy  Shallard,  had  al- 
ready won  their  way  out  of  prison  through  the  hun- 
ger strike. 

Next  night,  whilst  vast  throngs  of  people  lined 
the  streets  and  the  police  were  massed  in  their  thou- 
sands to  guard  from  them  the  Chancellor  of  the  Ex- 
chequer, "  the  son  of  the  people,"  as  he  called  him- 
self, the  twelve  women  quietly  proceeded  to  do  their 
deeds.  It  was  rumoured  that  Mr.  Lloyd  George 
was  to  stay  with  Sir  Walter  Runciman,  and,  seeing 
the  latter  gentleman's  motor  car  driving  through  the 
streets,  Lady  Constance  Lytton  threw  a  stone  at  it, 
carefully  aiming  at  the  radiator  in  order  that,  with- 
out injuring  anyone,  she  might  strike  the  car.  Miss 
Dorothy  Pethick  and  Miss  Kitty  Marion  entered 
the  General  Post  Office  and,  having  carefully  selected 
a  window  in  the  neighbourhood  of  which  there  was 
no  one  to  be  hurt,  they  went  out  and  cast  their 
stones  through  it  with  a  cry  of  "  Votes  for  Women." 
A  number  of  other  women  were  also  arrested  for 

OCTOBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    449 

similar  acts.  Mrs.  Brailsford  walked  quietly  up 
to  one  of  the  police  barriers  and  stood  resting  an  in- 
nocent-looking bouquet  of  chrysanthemums  upon  it. 
Suddenly  the  flowers  fell  to  the  ground  disclosing 
an  axe  which  she  raised  and  let  fall  with  one  dull 
thud  on  the  wooden  bar.  It  was  a  symbolic  act  of 
revolution,  and,  like  her  comrades,* she  was  dragged 
away  by  the  police.  By  direct  order  of  the  Home 
Office  bail  was  refused  and  eight  of  the  Suffragettes 
were  kept  in  the  police  court  cells  from  Saturday 
until  Monday,  without  an  opportunity  of  undress- 
ing, without  a  mattress,  and  with  nothing  but  a  rug 
in  which  to  wrap  themselves  at  night. 

Whilst  the  women  who  had  thus  been  lodged  in 
prison  had  been  making  their  protest  outside  Mr. 
Lloyd  George's  meeting,  there  were  men  who  were 
speaking  for  them  within.  As  the  Chancellor  of 
the  Exchequer  was  running  through  the  list  of  taxes 
in  the  Budget,  a  man  complained  that  "  there  was  no 
tax  on  stomach  pumps."  The  whole  house  rose  at 
that  and  the  man  was  violently  ejected.  Many  oth- 
ers followed  his  example.  Mr.  Lloyd  George 
taunted  them  by  saying:  ''  There  are  many  ways  of 
earning  a  living,  and  I  think  this  is  the  most  objec- 
tionable of  them/'^  and  by  asking:  "Arc  there  any 
more  of  these  hirelings?'^  Evidently  he  thought 
that  there  were  no  men  disinterested  enough  to  sup- 
port the  cause  of  women  unless  they  received  pay 
for  iO 

On  Monday,  whilst  the  other  women  received  sen- 
tences varying  from  fourteen  days  to  one  month's 
hard    labour.    Lady    Constance    Lytton    and    Mrs. 

^  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  baseless  insinuation  was  of  course  in- 
dignantly and  publicly  repudiated  by  the  men  concerned. 


Brailsford  were  ordered  to  be  bound  over  to  be  of 
good  behaviour,  and  on  refusing  were  sent  to  prison 
in  the  second  division  for  one  month.  The  authori- 
ties were  evidently  very  loath  to  convict  these  two 
ladies,  one  of  them  because  of  her  rank,  and  the 
other  because  of  her  own  and  her  husband's  associ- 
ation with  the  Liberal  party,  but  both  were  deter- 
mined to  stand  by  their  comrades  and  steadfastly 
refused  to  express  any  regret  for  what  they  had  done. 

Their  hope  that  their  courageous  action  might  save 
Mrs.  Leigh  and  the  other  Birmingham  prisoners 
from  further  suffering  proved  to  be  vain,  and  on 
Wednesday,  October  13th,  Lady  Constance  Lytton 
and  Mrs.  Brailsford,  both  of  whom  had  refused 
food,  were  released  after  having  been  imprisoned 
for  no  more  than  two  and  a  half  days.  Mr.  Glad- 
stone asserted  that  in  deciding  to  release  them,  he  had 
not  been  in  any  way  influenced  by  regard  for  their 
position,  but  that  they  had  been  turned  out  of  prison 
on  purely  medical  grounds.  It  was  indeed  true  that 
Lady  Constance  was  exceedingly  fragile  and  deli- 
cate and  that  she  suffered  from  a  slight  heart  affec- 
tion, but  Mrs.  Brailsford  protested  that  she  herself 
was  perfectly  well  and  strong. 

The  eight  other  women  were  all  forcibly  fed  and 
all  but  two  were  retained  in  prison  till  the  end  of 
their  sentence.  In  most  cases  the  nasal  tube  was 
used;  it  always  caused  headache  and  sickness.  The 
nostrils  soon  became  terribly  inflamed  and  every  one 
of  the  women  lost  weight  and  suffered  from  great 
and  growing  weakness. 

On  Saturday,  October  i6th,  Mr.  Winston  Church- 
ill was  to  speak  at  an  open-air  gathering  at 
Abernethy,  some  sixteen  miles  from  Dundee.     The 

OCTOBER,  igoQ,  TO  JANUARY,  1910    451 

W.  S.  P.  U.  had  no  intention  of  heckling  him  or  cre- 
ating any  disturbance,  for  after  much  pressing  and 
a  lengthy  correspondence  he  had  agreed  to  fulfil  a 
promise  made  to  the  Women's  Freedom  League  in 
the  previous  January  to  receive  a  Woman's  Suffrage 
deputation  on  the  following  Monday.  Nevertheless 
the  occasion  was  thought  a  suitable  one  for  distrib- 
uting Suffrage  literature  and  for  holding  a  meeting 
somewhere  in  the  neighbourhood.  Adela  Pank- 
hurst,  Mrs.  Archdale,  the  daughter  of  Russell,  the 
founder  of  the  great  Liberal  newspaper,  "  The  Scots- 
man," Mrs.  Frank  Corbett,  the  sister-in-law  of  a 
Member  of  Parliament,  and  Miss  C.  Jolly  accord- 
ingly decided  to  motor  over  there. 

They  started  off  on  a  crisp  bright  autumn  day, 
the  clouds  high,  the  sun  shining  and  the  trees 
all  turning  gold,  and  the  little  frost  sparkles  gleam- 
ing on  the  good  hard  road.  Everything  began 
auspiciously  but  before  long  they  were  held  up  by 
a  punctured  tire.  Owing  to  this  delay  they  lost 
the  opportunity  of  giving  out  leaflets  to  the  people 
as  they  arrived,  for  the  audience  had  already 
entered  the  big  tent  where  the  speaking  was  to  take 
place  when  the  Suffragettes  drove  up.  Standing 
in  the  road  were  some  thirty  or  forty  men, 
all  wearing  the  yellow  rosettes  of  official  Liberal 
stewards,  and  as  the  car  slowed  down,  they  rushed 
furiously  towards  it,  shouting  and  tearing  up  sods 
from  the  road  and  pelting  the  women  with  them. 
One  man  pulled  out  a  knife  and  began  to  cut  the 
tires,  whilst  the  others  feverishly  pulled  the  loose 
pieces  off  with  their  fingers.  The  Suffragettes  tried 
to  quiet  them  with  a  few  words  of  explanation, 
but  their  only  reply  was  to  pull  the  hood  of  the  motor 


over  the  women's  heads  and  then  to  beat  it  and  batter 
It  until  it  was  broken  in  several  places.  Then  they 
tore  at  the  women's  clothes  and  tried  to  pull  them 
out  of  the  car,  whilst  the  son  of  the  gentleman  in 
whose  grounds  the  meeting  was  being  held  then 
drove  up  in  another  motor  and  threw  a  shower  of 
pepper  in  the  women's  eyes.  The  shouts  of  the  men 
reached  the  tent  where  Mr.  Churchill  was  speaking, 
and  numbers  of  people  flocked  out  and  watched  the 
scene  from  over  the  hedge,  but  only  two  gentlemen 
had  the  courage  to  come  to  the  aid  of  the  women, 
and  their  efforts  availed  little  against  the  large  band 
of  stewards.  At  last,  fearing  that  his  motor  would 
be  entirely  wrecked,  the  driver  put  on  full  speed  and 
drove  away.  The  only  excuse  for  the  stewards  who 
took  part  in  this  extraordinary  occurrence  is  that 
many  of  them  were  intoxicated. 

On  Monday,  as  he  had  promised,  Mr.  Churchill 
received  the  deputation  from  the  Women's  Freedom 
League.  He  then  entirely  departed  from  what  he 
had  said  during  the  elections  both  in  Manchester  and 
at  Dundee  itself.  In  Manchester,  when  asked  what 
he  would  do  to  help  to  secure  the  enfranchisement  of 
women  he  had  said:  "I  will  try  my  best  as  and 
when  occasion  offers."  He  had  added  that  the 
women  Suffragists  had  *'  now  got  behind  them  a 
great  popular  demand,"  and  that  their  movement 
was  assuming  "  the  same  character  as  Franchise 
movements  have  previously  assumed."  In  Dundee 
he  had  said  that  Women's  Suffrage  would  be  "  a 
real  practical  issue  "  at  the  next  general  election  and 
that  he  thought  that  the  next  Parliament  **  ought  to 
see  "  the  gratification  of  the  women's  claim.  Now 
that  no  election  was  in  prospect  he  said :  "  Looking 


OCTOBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  1910    453 

back  over  the  last  four  years  I  am  bound  to  say  I 
think  your  cause  has  marched  backwards."  He  fur- 
ther said  that  the  mass  of  people  still  remained  to 
be  converted  and  that,  so  far  as  he  could  see,  women's 
enfranchisement  would  not  **  figure  either  in  the 
programme  of  any  great  political  party  "  or  "  in  the 
election  address  of  any  prominent  man,"  and  that, 
until  militant  tactics  were  discontinued,  he  himself 
would  render  no  assistance  to  the  cause.  A  more 
flagrant  example  of  political  dishonesty  than  that 
which  these  conflicting  statements  of  Mr.  ChurchilPs 
presented,  it  would  be  difficult  to  find  and  not  merely 
the  Suffragettes  but  the  people  of  Dundee  freely 
expressed  their  disapproval. 

On  Tuesday,  Mr.  Churchill  was  to  speak  in  the 
Kinnaird  Hall,  and  huge  crowds  then  filled  the 
streets  and  in  spite  of  the  tremendous  force  of  police 
the  barricades  were  stormed.  Led  by  Mrs.  Cor- 
bett,  Miss  Joachim,  and  Mrs.  Archdale,  they  shouted 
**  Votes  for  Women,"  and  rushed  again  and  again 
at  the  doors  of  the  Hall.  The  three  women  who  led 
the  crowds  were  arrested  but  the  storm  still  went 

Adela  Pankhurst  and  Miss  C.  Jolly,  who  had  lain 
concealed  there  since  the  previous  Sunday,  had 
raised  the  cry,  "  Votes  for  Women,"  in  a  little  dark 
room,  the  windows  of  which  overlooked  the  large 
hall.  After  a  .tussle  with  the  police  and  stewards, 
which  lasted  three  quarters  of  an  hour,  they  were  ar- 
rested and  with  the  three  who  had  been  taken  in  the 
street,  were  eventually  sent  to  prison  for  ten  days. 
They  immediately  commenced  the  hunger  strike,  and 
were  set  free  on  Sunday,  24th  October,  after  having 
gone  without  food  for  five  and  a  half  days.     Whilst 


they  were  in  prison,  huge  crowds  came  to  the  gates 
every  night  to  cheer  them,  and  on  the  next  night 
after  their  release  the  men  of  Dundee  organised  a 
meeting  of  protest,  in  the  Kinnaird  Hall. 

Meanwhile,  four  Suffragettes  were  suffering  the 
torture  of  forcible  feeding  in  Strangeways  Gaol, 
Manchester.  They  had  been  arrested  in  connection 
with  a  meeting  held  by  Mr.  Runciman  at  Radcliffe, 
and  sentenced  to  one  month's  imprisonment,  with 
hard  labour,  on  October  21st.  They  had  gone  into 
prison  on  the  Thursday,  and  had  begun  the  hunger 
strike  at  once,  and  on  Friday  the  doctors  and  ward- 
resses came  to  feed  them  by  force.  Miss  Emily 
Wilding  Davison  urged  that  the  operation  was  ille- 
gal, but  she  was  seized  and  forced  down  on  her  bed. 
"  The  scene  which  followed,"  she  says,  **  will  haunt 
me  with  its  horror  all  my  life  and  is  almost  inde- 
scribable." Each  time  it  happened  she  felt  she  could 
not  possibly  live  through  it  again.  On  Monday  a 
wardress  put  her  into  an  empty  cell  next  door  to  her 
own,  and  there  she  found  that  instead  of  one  plank 
bed  there  were  two.  She  saw  in  a  flash  a  way  to  es- 
cape the  torture.  She  hastily  pulled  down  the  two 
•  bed  boards,  and  laid  them  end  to  end  upon  the  floor, 
one  touching  the  door,  the  other  the  opposite  wall, 
and,  as  the  door  opened  inwards,  she  thus  hoped  to 
prevent  anyone  entering.  A  space  of  a  foot  or 
more,  however,  remained,  but  she  jammed  in  her 
stool,  her  shoes,  and  her  hairbrush,  and  sat  down 
holding  this  wedge  firm.  Soon  the  wardress  re- 
turned, unlocked  the  door,  aild  pushed  it  sharply, 
but  it  would  not  move.  Looking  through  the  spy- 
hole she  discovered  the  reason  and  called,  *'  Open 
the  door,"  but  the  prisoner  would  not  budge.     After 

OCTOBER,  igoQ,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    455 

some  threats  and  coaxing  the  window  of  her  cell  was 
broken,  the  nozzle  of  a  hose  pipe  was  poked  through, 
and  the  water  was  turned  full  upon  her.  She  clung 
to  the  bedboards  with  all  her  strength  gasping  for 
breath,  until  a  voice  called  out  quickly,  "  Stop,  no 
more,  no  morCe"  She  sat  there  drenched  and  shiver- 
ing, still  crouching  on  the  bedboards,  the  water  six 
inches  deep  around  her.  After  a  time  they  decided 
to  take  the  heavy  iron  door  off  its  hinges,  and,  when 
this  was  done,  a  warder  rushed  in  and  seized  her, 
saying,  as  he  did  so,  "  You  ought  to  be  horsewhipped 
for  this."  Now  her  clothes  were  torn  off,  she  was 
wrapped  in  blankets,  put  into  an  invalid's  chair,  and 
rushed  off  to  the  hospital,  there  to  be  plunged  into 
a  hot  bath  and  rubbed  down,  and  then,  still  gasping 
and  shivering  miserably,  she  was  put  into  bed  be- 
tween blankets  with  a  hot  bottle.  At  6  P.  M.  on 
Thursday  she  was  released. 

Meanwhile,  the  whole  country  had  heard  of  the 
incident  and  an  outcry  had  been  raised.  A  corre- 
spondent wrote  that  he  had  seen  a  hose-pipe  played 
on  drunken  stokers  at  sea.  They  were  Norwegian 
stokers,  the  officer  would  not  have  dared  to  do  it 
had  they  been  English,  but  the  passengers  had  in- 
tervened at  what  they  felt  to  be  revolting  and  un- 
justifiable brutality.  The  thought  of  turning  that 
fearful  force  of  ice-cold  water  upon  a  woman  al- 
ready weak  from  several  days  of  fasting,  was  hor- 
rible indeed  to  anyone  who  realised  what  it  meant. 

Mr.  Gladstone  himself  admitted  that  the  Visiting 
Committee  who  had  ordered  it  were  guilty  of  a 
grave  error  of  judgment  and  ordered  the  discharge 
of  Miss  Davison;  but  later  on  he  addressed  a  letter 
to  the   officials  of  Strangeways  Gaol  through  the 


Prison  Commissioners  expressing  his  appreciation 
of  the  way  in  which  the  medical  officers  had  carried 
out  their  duties  and  commending  **  the  efficiency  of 
the  prison  service,  the  carefulness  and  good  sense 
shown  by  the  staff,"  and  **  the  tact,  care,  humanity 
and  firmness  "  with  which  the  problem  of  the  Suf- 
fragette imprisonments  had  been  "  handled  by  all 

The  other  Manchester  prisoners  were  obliged  to 
complete  their  sentences,  being  forcibly  fed  during 
the  whole  time. 

At  this  point  the  Government  had  an  opportunity 
of  learning  the  view  of  the  electorate  as  to  their 
treatment  of  the  women,  for  a  by-election  was  now 
taking  place  in  Bermondsey  and  the  Suffragettes 
were,  as  usual,  actively  opposing  the  Government- 
candidate.  In  order^  that  every  elector  might  un- 
derstand as  far  as  possible  what  forcible  feeding 
really  meant,  a  pictorial  poster  showing  the  opera- 
tion was  displayed  throughout  the  constituency  and 
models  representing  forcible  feeding  were  shown  at 
the  W.  S.  P.  U.  committee  rooms.  A  manifesto 
against  the  Government  was  also  issued  by  nine  rep- 
resentative men,  including  Mr.  Brailsford,  Mr.  Nev- 
inson  and  Dr.  Hugh  Fenton,  which  urged  the  elect- 
ors "  in  the  name  of  chivalry  and  humanity  as  well 
as  in  the  interests  of  true  Liberalism  to  see  to  it  that 
whatever  else  may  happen  at  this  particular  election 
the  Government  candidate  is  left  at  the  bottom  of 
the  poll."  The  Suffragettes  worked,  if  possible, 
more  vigorously  than  ever,  and  after  the  first 
three  days  of  their  campaign.  Liberal  workers  came 
to  them  in  despair,  saying:  "Why  have  you  come 
down  to  boss  our  election?  "     The  Suffragettes  never 

OCTOBER,  igo9,  TO  JANUARY,  1910    45,7 

go  to  Liberal  meetings  at  election  times,  but  the 
Liberal  speakers  were  constantly  being  heckled  by 
the  men  and  women  of  Bermondsey  as  to  the  forci- 
ble feeding  of  the  Suffragettes.  The  Suffragettes 
themselves  were  greeted  with  cheers  and  words  of 
encouragement  wherever  they  went.  "  All  the  po- 
licemen in  this  constituency  are  going  to  vote  for 
you,"  one  of  the  constables  said,  and  others  testified 
that  they  preferred  to  keep  order  at  the  women's 
meetings  than  at  any  other  because  **  they  talked 
sense."  In  the  result  the  Liberal  candidate  was  de- 
feated and  the  Liberal  poll  was  reduced  by  more  than 
1,400  votes.     The  figures  were: 

Mr.  Dumfries,  Unionist 4,278 

Mr.  Spencer  Leigh,  Hugh,  Liberal 3,291 

Dr.  Salter,  Socialist i,435 

Unionist  majority 987 

The  figures  at  the  last  election  had  been : 

George  J.  Cooper,  Liberal 4,775 

H.  J.  Cockayne  Cust,  Conservative. 3, 01 6 

Liberal  majority i,759 

On  polling  day  an  unlooked-for,  and  to  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union,  unwelcome  in- 
cident occurred.  The  Women's  Freedom  League 
endeavoured  to  render  the  election  void,  because 
they  objected  to  any  election  being  held  at  which 
women  might  not  vote.  The  W.  S.  P.  U.  were 
against  this*,  because  their  policy  was  to  prove 
that  the  electors  were  prepared  to  defeat  the  Govern- 
ment  candidate   in   order  to  show  their  belief  in 

45 8         •       THE  SUFFRAGETTE 

Votes  for  Women.  The  attempt  of  the  Freedom 
League  members  to  render  the  election  void  was  car- 
ried out  in  the  following  manner.  Two  members 
of  the  League,  Mrs,  Chapin  and  Miss  Allison  Neil- 
ans,  each  entered  a  separate  polling  booth  with  a 
glass  test  tube  filled  with  a  solution  of  ink  and  photo- 
graphic chemicals  which  had  been  carefully  prepared 
to  destroy  the  ballot  papers  without  any  risk  of  in- 
jury to  any  person  who  might  happen  to  touch  it. 
In  each  case  the  woman  concerned  broke  the  test 
tube  by  striking  it  on  top  of  the  ballot  box  so  that 
the  black  liquid  might  fall  into  the  slot.  When  this 
was  done  by  Mrs.  Chapin  a  Mr.  Thorley  rushed 
forward,  and  some  of  the  black  liquid  splashed  into 
his  eye.  In  Miss  Neilans'  case  a  man  stretched  out 
his  hand  and  some  of  the  liquid  fell  upon  it.  In 
both  cases  the  men  ^sked  if  the  stuff  would  burn, 
and  were  told  it  would  do  no  harm  if  it  were  washed 
off  at  once.  Miss  Neilans'  own  hands  and  gloves 
were  soaked  with  the  fluid,  but  she  suffered  no  harm. 
Only  five  papers  were  touched  by  the  fluid  and  none 
of  these  were  indecipherable. 

A  great  outcry  was  raised,  however,  for  it  was 
declared  that  Mr.  Thorley  would  be  blind  for  life. 
For  some  time  he  went  out  wearing  a  black  shade 
over  his  eye,  but  when  he  was  called  upon  un- 
expectedly by  some  members  of  the  Women's  Free- 
dom League,  he  was  found  to  be  without  the 
shade  and  his  eye  appeared  perfectly  normal.  The 
cases  hung  over  for  some  time  and  eventually, 
on  November  24th,  Mrs.  Chapin  was  sentenced 
to  three  months'  imprisonment  for  interfering  with 
the  ballot  box  and  four  months  for  a  common 
assault   upon   Mr.   Thorley,   the   sentences   to   run 

OCTOBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  1910    459 

concurrently;  whilst  Miss  Neilans  was  ordered 
three  months'  imprisonment.  After  a  time  it  leaked 
out  that  the  slight  injury  from  which  Mr.  Thorley 
had  suffered,  had  been  caused,  not  by  the  liquid 
which  Mrs.  Chapin  had  thrown,  but  by  some  am- 
monia which  he  had  used  to  counteract  any  after- 
effects. Two  days  after  Miss  Neilans'  release  Mrs. 
Chapin  was  granted  the  King's  Pardon. 

On  October  30th  Mrs.  Leigh  was  suddenly  re- 
leased from  Birmingham  Gaol,  in  a  very  critical 
state,  though  two  months  out  of  the  four  to  which 
she  had  been  sentenced  still  remained  to  run.  She 
was  at  once  removed  to  a  nursing  home. 

November  9th  was  Lord  Mayor's  Day,  and,  as 
usual,  the  Lord  Mayor  had  invited  the  Cabinet  Min- 
isters to  a  banquet  in  the  Guild  Hall.  Knowing 
this.  Miss  Alice  Paul,  an  American  citizen,  and  Miss 
Amelia  Brown  disguised  themselves  as  charwomen, 
and,  carrying  buckets  and  brushes,  entered  the  build- 
ing with  the  other  cleaners  at  nine  o'clock  in  the 
morning.  There  they  hid  themselves  and  waited 
until  the  evening,  when  they  took  their  stand  in  the 
gallery  outside  the  Banqueting  Hall.  When  Mr. 
Asquith  was  about  to  speak.  Miss  Brown,  having 
carefully  selected  a  pane  of  the  stained  glass  window 
upon  which  there  was  no  ornament,  and  which  she 
thought  might  be  easily  replaced,  stooped  down,  took 
off  her  shoe  and  smashed  the  chosen  pane  in  order 
that  her  shout  of  **  Votes  for  Women  "  might  be 
heard  by  those  below.  Miss  Alice  Paul  also  took 
up  the  cry.  Both  women  were  arrested  and  after- 
wards sent  to  prison  for  one  month's  hard  labour 
on  refusing  to  pay  fines  of  £5  and  damages  of  £2 
ten  shillings  each.     They  were  both  forcibly  fed  and 


as  a  result  of  this  Miss  Brown  was  attacked  with 
severe  gastritis. 

Three  days  later,  on  November  13  th,  Mr.  Win- 
ston Churchill  visited  Bristol  to  speak  at  the  Colston 
Hall.  Miss  Theresa  Garnet,  the  woman  who  had 
been  twice  through  the  hunger  strike,  and  whom  the 
Home  Secretary  had  wrongfully  accused  of  biting, 
resolved  to  humiliate  Mr.  Churchill,  both  as  a  mem- 
ber of  the  Government  which  preferred  rather  to  im- 
prison women  than  to  enfranchise  them  and  to  torture 
them  rather  than  to  extend  towards  them  the  ordi- 
nary privileges  of  political  prisoners ;  and  also  on  his 
own  account  for  his  slippery  and  disingenuous  state- 
ments in  regard  to  the  Votes  for  Women  question. 

She  therefore  met  the  train  by  which  he  was  arriv- 
ing from  London  and  found  him  on  the  platform  in 
the  midst  of  a  large  force  of  detectives  who  formed 
a  semi-circle  around  him.  She  rushed  straight  for- 
ward, and  they  either  did  not,  or  would  not,  see  her 
coming,  but  the  Cabinet  Minister  saw  her,  he  paled 
and  stood  there  as  though  petrified,  only  raising  his 
arm  to  guard  himself.  She  reached  him  and  with  a 
light  riding  switch,  struck  at  him  three  times,  saying, 
"  Take  that  in  the  name  of  the  insulted  women  of 
England."  At  that  he  grappled  with  her,  wrested 
the  switch  from  her  hand,  and  put  it  in  his  pocket. 
Then  she  was  seized  and  dragged  away  to  prison. 

She  was  charged  with  assaulting  Mr.  Churchill, 
but  eventually  this  charge  was  withdrawn  (presum- 
ably because  Mr.  Churchill  knew  that  he  would  be 
subpoenaed  as  a  witness)  and,  on  being  accused  of 
having  disturbed  the  peace,  was  sentenced  to  one 
month's  imprisonment  on  refusing  to  be  bound  over. 

Meanwhile  30,000  men  and  women  had  turned 

OCTOBER,  igog,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    461 

out  to  help  the  Suffragettes  in  their  protest  around 
the  Colston  Hall  where  Mr.  Churchill  was  speaking, 
and  during  the  evening  four  women  were  arrested, 
and  afterwards  punished  with  from  two  months'  hard 
labour  to  fourteen  days  in  the  second  division,  whilst 
several  men  who  had  spoken  up  for  them  inside  the 
Colston  Hall  were  beaten  unmercifully  by  the  stew- 
ards. Forcible  feeding  was  resorted  to  in  Bristol 
Prison  also,  and  handcuffs  were  used  in  some  cases. 

Meanwhile  the  supporters  of  the  Liberal  Govern- 
ment were  adopting  militant  tactics  on  their  own  ac- 
count. What  was  called  "  A  League  against  the 
Lords  "  had  been  formed  with  the  warmly  expressed 
approval  of  many  of  the  Liberal  leaders,  and,  though 
the  leaders  had  kept  in  the  background,  the  members 
of  the  League  had  twice  assembled  in  Parliament 
Square  to  hoot  the  peers  as  they  drove  by  in  their 
carriages,  and  had  come  into  collision  with  the  police. 

At  the  same  time  the  Liberal  newspapers  were 
openly  commending  the  efforts  of  gangs  of  men  who 
were  going  from  meeting  to  meeting  held  by  the  Con- 
servatives, and  with  shouts  and  violence  were  making 
it  impossible  for  their  political  opponents  to  speak. 
Columns  were  devoted  to  describing  the  doings  of 
what  was  called  "  The  Voice  "  which  persistently 
heckled  Tariff  Reformers  and  supporters  of  the 
House  of  Lords. 

Mr.  Winston  Churchill  was  now  arranging  to  hold 
a  campaign  of  public  meetings  in  Lancashire,  and  the 
W.  S.  P.  U.  publicly  and  openly  appealed  for  funds 
to  insure  that  protests  and.  demonstrations  should 
be  made  in  connection  with  all  his  meetings.  Thou- 
sands of  pounds  were,  on  the  other  hand,  spent  by 
the  authorities  to  defeat  the  women's  intentions.     In 


Preston,  in  addition  to  many  other  precautions,  sev- 
enty men  were  employed  and  £150  spent  on  barri- 
cading the  windows  and  roof  of  the  Hall  where  Mr. 
Churchill  was  to  speak,  and  at  Southport  £250  was 
laid  out  on  mounted  police  to  protect  the  Empire 
Music  Hall  alone. 

When  the  Southport  meeting  began  Mr.  Churchill 
looked  ill  at  ease  and  turned  about  sharply  from  time 
to  time  as  though  expecting  an  interruption.     But 
at  last  he  seemed  to  gain  confidence  and  was  proceed- 
ing briskly  with  his  remarks,  when^  suddenly,  there 
floated  down  from  the  roof  a  soft  voice,  faint  and 
reedy,  and  peering  through  one  of  the  great  porthole- 
like openings  in  the  slope  of  the  ceiling,  was  seen  a 
strange  little  elfin  form  with  wan  childish  face,  broad 
brow  and  big  grey  eyes,  looking  like  nothing  real  or 
earthly  but  a  dream  waif.     But  for  the  weary  pale- 
ness of  her,  she  might  have  been  one  of  those  dainty 
little  child  angels  the  old  Italian  painters  loved  to 
show  peeping  down  from  the  tops  of  high  clouds  or 
nestfing  amongst  the  details  of  their  stately  archi- 
tecture.    It  was  Dora  Marsden  who  with  two  other 
women  had  lain  concealed  on  the  roof  since  two 
o'clock  in  the  small  hours  of  the  previous  morning. 
So  unexpected  and  pathetic  was  this  little  figure  that 
leant  further  forward  to  repeat  her  message  that  the 
audience  could  not  forbear  to  cheer  her.     They  stood 
up,  waving  their  hats  and  programmes,  "  looking  de- 
lighted," as  the  loftily  placed  intruder  herself  ob- 
served.    Mrs.  Churchill  smiled  also  and  waved  her 
hand  and  even  Mr.  Churchill,  though  this  was  prob- 
ably because  of  his  wife's  presence,  and.of  the  general 
feeling  of  the  audience,  himself  looked  pleasantly  up 
and  said,  "If  some  stewards  will  fetch  those  ladies 

OCTOBER,  igog,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    463 

after  my  speech  is  concluded,  I  shall  be  glad  to  an- 
swer any  questions  they  may  put  to  me." 

But  the  stewards,  who  by  this  time  had  found  the 
women,  were  not  disposed  to  bring  them  into  the  hall. 
A  hand  was  thrust  over  Dora  Marsden's  mouth  and 
she  and  the  others  were  roughly  pulled  back  from 
their  coign  of  vantage,  pushed  through  a  window, 
and  sent  rolling  down  the  steep  sloping  roof.  "  Stop 
that,  you  fools,"  someone  cried  out,  "  you  will  all 
fall  over  the  edge,"  but  one  of  the  stewards  answered, 
"  I  do  not  care  what  happens."  Fortunately  two  of 
the  Suffragettes  were  caught  in  their  perilous  descent 
by  the  edge  of  a  water  trough  whilst  a  policeman 
seized  Dora  Marsden  by  the  ankle,  telling  her,  **  If 
I  had  not  caught  your  foot,  you  would  have  gone  to 
glory."  Once  safely  on  the  ground  the  women  were 
placed  under  arrest,  but  the  case  against  them  was 
eventually  dismissed. 

At  Preston,  Suffragettes  dressed  in  shawls  and 
clogs  sallied  forth  at  night  and  pasted  forcible  feed- 
ing posters  on  the  street  pillar  boxes,  the  prison  and 
other  public  buildings  and  the  windows  and  doors  of 
the  Liberal  Club,  as  a  welcome  to  Mr.  Churchill,  and 
in  connection  with  turbulent  scenes  which  occurred 
whilst  his  meeting  was  in  progress,  four  women  were 
arrested.  At  every  other  town  he  visited  the  same 
kind  of  thing  occurred.  At  Waterloo,  there  was  one 
arrest,  at  Liverpool  there  were  two,  and  one  at 
Bolton  and  one  at  Crewe. 

Meanwhile  Mr.  Harcourt  had  held  a  series  of 
meetings  in  the  Rossendale  Valley.  On  December 
1st  the  door  and  windows  of  the  house  in  which  he 
was  staying  were  found  to  have  been  covered  during 
the  night  with  forcible  feeding  posters.     The  next 


evening  three  men  were  set  to  watch  with  large  hose- 
pipes attached  to  the  main,  but  somehow  or  other 
the  connection  was  mysteriously  cut  and  the  windows 
were  broken  without  their  being  aware  of  it  by  some 
person  or  persons  unknown.  Two  women  were  ar- 
rested in  connection  with  disturbances  on  the  follow- 
ing Monday,  and  were  sent  to  prison  for  one  month 
and  fourteen  days  respectively.  They  both  adopted 
the  hunger  strike,  and  were  both  forcibly  fed.  Two 
women  were  arrested  outside  Sir  Edward  Grey's 
meeting  at  Leith  on  December  4th,  1909. 

A  general  election  was  now  announced  and  on  De- 
cember loth  Mr.  Asquith  was  to  speak  at  a  great 
meeting  in  the  Albert  Hall  and  whilst  the  authorities 
were  making  every  attempt  to  keep  them  out,  the 
Suffragettes  were,  of  course,  making  every  attempt 
to  get  into  the  building.  Some  of  them  did  succeed 
in  concealing  themselves  inside,  but  were  discovered. 
Jessie  Kenney,  who  disguised  herself  as  a  telegraph 
boy  and  tried  to  get  in  while  the  meeting  was  in 
progress,  was  also  detected  and  turned  back,  but  three 
men  sympathisers  protested  during  the  meeting.  To 
these  Mr.  Asquith  replied,  "  Nearly  two  years  ago 
I  declared  on  behalf  of  the  present  Government  that 
in  the  event  of  our  bringing  in  a  Reform  Bill  we 
should  make  the  question  of  Suffrage  for  Women  an 
open  one  for  the  House  of  Commons  to  decide.  My 
declaration  survives  the  General  Election  and  this 
Cause,  so  far  as  the  Government  is  concerned,  shall 
be  no  worse  off  in  the  new  Parliament  than  it  would 
have  been  in  the  old."  Thus  Mr.  Asquith  was  cheer- 
fully preparing  for  another  general  election  without 
one  word  of  regret  or  apology  to  those  women  who 
had  been  misled  by  his  promise  to  introduce  the  Re- 

OCTOBER,  igoQ,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    465 

form  Bill  before  Parliament  came  to  an  end.  That 
was  almost  the  last  of  the  old  false  promise. 

Meanwhile  Charlotte  Marsh,  who  had  gone  into 
Winson  Green  Gaol  with  the  first  batch  of  prisoners 
to  be  forcibly  fed,  was  still  being  detained  there, 
whilst  Mrs.  Leigh  and  all  the  rest  had  been  released. 
Those  who  went  to  visit  her  once  at  the  expiration 
of  each  month  were  only  allowed  to  look  at  her 
through  a  small  square  of  perforated  zinc.  They 
could  neither  see  her  clearly  nor  hear  distinctly  what 
she  said.  Nevertheless  they  gathered  that  she  was 
suffering  greatly.  Our  hearts  ached  for  that  noble 
girl.  Often  there  came  before  our  eyes  the  picture 
of  the  tall,  straight  figure  that  had  carried  the  colours 
of  our  Union  before  us  in  so  many  gay  processions. 
We  saw  the  fair,  fresh  face  with  its  delicate  regular 
Saxon  features,  those  masses  of  bright  golden  hair, 
the  head  so  proudly  held,  and  the  faint  flicker  of  a 
shy  smile  that  always  came  when  one  spoke  to  her ;  we 
heard  the  boyish  ring  in  her  voice,  and  realised  again 
her  earnestness  and  enthusiasm,  and  the  unaffected 
gentleness  of  her  address.  There  was  always  some- 
thing about  her  that  made  many  a  woman  think  of 
some  dear  young  brother.  Her  father  called  her 
"  Charlie,"  and  thought  of  her  as  his  only  boy 
amongst  a  family  of  girls. 

It  was  expected  that  she  would  have  been  released 
on  December  7th,  but  the  Government  who  had  held 
her  in  torment  for  so  long  were  anxious  to  extort 
from  her  the  very  last  ounce  of  their  pound  of  flesh. 
They  determined  not  to  grant  her  the  remission  of 
one-sixth  of  the  sentence  usually  allowed,  but  to  with- 
hold it  as  a  punishment  for  her  refusal  to  take  food, 

and  they  did  this  though  they  knew  that  her  father 


was  dangerously  ill  and  though  her  mother  had  ap- 
pealed for  her  release  on  that  ground  a  week  before. 
There  was  no  fine  that  could  be  laid  down  to  buy  her 
out,  for  she  had  been  sentenced  without  that  option, 
and  so  perforce  she  must  wait  the  pleasure  of  the 
Government.  On  the  8th  of  December,  it  was 
known  that  Charlotte  Marsh's  father  was  dying  and 
her  family  made  another  urgent  appeal  that  she 
might  be  brought  to  him.  But  it  was  not  until  the 
9th  that  the  Home  Secretary  at  last  tardily  let  her 
go.  She  hurried  at  once  to  her  home  in  Newcastle, 
so  thin  and  worn  with  what  she  had  suffered,  that  her 
sisters  scarcely  knew  her  as  she  came  into  the  house, 
only  to  find  that  her  father  was  unconscious  and 
would  never  wake  to  know  her  any  more. 

DECEMBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  1910 

The  Appeal  of  Pankhurst  and  Haverfield  v.  Jarvis. 
The  Freedom  League  Pickets.  Mrs.  Pankhurst 
Returns  from  America.  Mrs.  Leigh^s  Action 
Against  the  Home  Secretary  and  the  Governor 
and  Doctor  of  Winson  Green  Gaol,  Birmingham. 
Miss  Davison's  Action  Against  the  Visiting  Jus- 
tices of  Strangeways  Gaol,  Manchester.  Ill 
Treatment  of  Miss  Selina  Martin  and  Miss  Leslie 
Hall  at  Walton  Gaol,  Liverpool.  Lady  Con- 
stance Lytton  Imprisoned  in  Walton  Gaol  as  Jane 

Whilst  Mrs.  Pankhurst  was  still  in  America,  the 
case  in  which  she,  Mrs.  Haverfield  and  the  ninety-two 
other  women  were  concerned,  which  had  been  hang- 
ing over  since  the  summer,  was  heard  in  the  Divi- 
sional Court  on  December  ist.  It  will  be  remem- 
bered that  the  Suffragettes  had  sought  to  put  into 
practice  the  constitutional  right  to  petition  the  Prime 
Minister  as  the  representative  of  the  Government 
and  of  the  King.  They  held  that  this  right  was  espe- 
cially defined  by  two  Acts,  the  Bill  of  Rights  which 
declares  that,  "  It  is  the  right  of  the  subject  to  peti- 
tion the  King  and  all  commitments  and  prosecutions 
for  such  petitioning  are  illegal,"  and  the  Statute  13, 
Charles  II,  which  states : 



That  no  person  or  persons  whatsoevet  shall  repair  to  Hid 
Majesty  or  bdth  or  either  Houses  of  Parliament  upon  pre- 
tence of  presenting  or  delivering  any  petition,  complaint,  re^ 
monstrance,  or  declaration  or  other  address,  accompanied 
with  excessive  nuniber  of  people,  nor  at  any  time  with  above 
the  number  of  ten  persons ;  upon  pain  of  incurring  a  penalty 
not  exceeding  the  sum  of  £ioo  in  money  or  three  months* 
imprisonment  without  bail  or  mainprise  for  every  offence; 
which  offerice  to  be  prosecuted  at  the  Court  of  King's  Bench 
or  at  the  Assizes  or  general  quarter  sessions  within  six 
months  after  the  offence  committed  and  proved  by  two  more 
credible  witnesses.  Provided  always  that  this  act  or  any-, 
thing  therein  contained  shall  not  be  considered  to  extend 
to  debar  or  hinder  any  person  or  persons  not  exceeding  the 
number  of  ten  aforesaid,  to  present  any  public  or  private 
grievance  or  complaint  to  any  Member  or  Members  of  Par- 
liament.    .     .     . 

Though  the  women  had  complied  with  every  pro- 
vision of  the  Act,  Sir  Albert  de  Rutzen  had  decided 
at  Bow  Street  that  they  had  broken  the  law.  In 
appealing  against  that  decision  In  the  Divisional 
Court,  Lord  Robert  Cecil  contended  that  in  this  coun- 
try there  was,  and  always  had  been,  a  right  of  peti- 
tion and  he  urged  that  this  right  was  a  necessary 
condition  of  all  free  and  indeed  of  all  civilised 
Government.  He  pointed  out  that  the  right  of  peti- 
tion had  three  characteristics ;  in  the  first  place  it  was 
the  right  to  petition  the  actual  repositories  of  power ; 
in  the  second  place  it  was  the  right  to  petition  in  per- 
son, and  in  the  third  place  it  must  be  exercised  reason- 

In  support  of  his  contention  that  petitions  might  be 
presented  in  person  he  quoted  several  historic  in- 
stances including  a  petition  of  women  to  Humphrey, 

DECEMBER,  igog,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    469 

Duke  of  Gloucester  in  the  reign  of  Henry  IV,  many 
petitions  to  various  powerful  personages  from  all 
sorts  of  men  and  women  in  the  time  of  the  Civil 
Wars  and  the  disputes  immediately  preceding  them; 
and  petitions  to  the  Lord  High  Steward  asking  for 
the  conviction  of  Strafford.  In  addition  to  these  he 
cited  numbers  of  petitions  presented  in  1640,  when 
deputations  came  to  the  House  of  Commons  and  the 
Members  were  instructed  to  go  out  and  interview  the 
petitioners  and  hear  what  they  had  to  say;  a  great 
petition  of  1680  as  well  as  the  petitions  from  the  Gen- 
tlemen of  Kent  in  1701 ;  that  of  the  Silkweavers  in 
1765 ;  and  that  of  the  Trade  Unionists  in  1834;  all  of 
which  were  presented  in  person.  Throughout  our 
history  it  was  clear,  he  declared,  that  petitions  had 
been  presented,  sometimes  to  the  Houses  of  Parlia- 
ment, sometimes  to  powerful  individuals  and  some- 
times to  the  King.  He  referred  to  a  case  mentioned 
in  Sir  Walter  Scott's  **  Fortune  of  Nigel,"  in  which, 
on  King  James  II  complaining  of  the  way  in  which  a 
petition  was  thrust  into  his  hand  in  the  streets,  a  gen- 
tleman named  Jingling  Geordie^  had  taken  the  oppor- 
tunity of  presenting  a  petition  to  him  then  and  there 
in  his  private  closet. 

Even  without  these  historic  examples  the  Statute 
13,  Charles  II  (already  quoted)  was  enough  to 
establish  the  right  to  present  petitions  in  person. 
The  Bill  of  Rights  had  specially  confirmed  the  right 
of  petition  in  so  far  as  the  King  was  concerned  be- 
cause the  right  to  present  a  petition  to  the  King  had 
recently  been  called  into  question  by  the  case  of  the 
seven  Bishops,  which  had  taken  place  on  June  29th 
and  30th,  1688,  in  the  reign  of  James  II. 

The  case  had  arisen  because  the  King  had  ordered 


that  his  Declaration  of  Indulgence  should  be  read  In 
all  the  Churches  in  the  country  and  the  seven  Bishops 
headed  by  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  being  of 
opinion  that  the  Declaration  of  Indulgence  was  be- 
yond the  power  of  the  King,  had  therefore  presented 
a  petition  to  him  setting  forth  this  view.  The  King 
declared  the  petition  to  be  a  seditious  libel,  and  the 
Bishops  had  been  brought  before  the  Court  of  King's 
Bench.  In  summing  up  the  case  for  the  jury,  Mr. 
Justice  HoUoway  said,  "  So  that  if  there  was  no  ill- 
intent  and  they  were  not  (as  it  is  not  nor  can  be 
pretended  they  were)  men  of  evil  lives,  to  deliver  a 
petition  cannot  be  a  fault,  it  being  the  right  of  every 
subject  to  petition.  The  jury  found  the  seven 
Bishops  to  be  guiltless  and  the  right  of  petition  was 
thus  confirmed. 

In  quoting  Mr.  Justice*  HoUoway's  summing  up. 
Lord  Robert  Cecil  pointed  out  that  the  use  of  the 
words  "  to  deliver  a  petition  "  clearly  indicated  that 
the  right  was  to  present  the  petition  in  person.  If 
that  were  so,  the  women  who  had  gone  to  Parliament 
Square  on  June  29  had  done  so  in  the  exercise  of  a 
constitutional  right.  So  long  as  they  were  denied 
votes,  this  was  their  only  constitutional  method  of 
agitation  for  the  redress  of  their  grievances. 

If,  as  was  contended,  the  right  not  only  to  petition, 
but  to  petition  in  person,  belonged  to  each  and  every 
subject,  the  only  point  left  to  consider  was  as  to 
whether  the  right  had  been  exercised  reasonably.  If 
one  wished  to  interview  the  Prime  Minister  or  any 
Member  of  Parliament  it  was  surely  reasonable  to  go 
to  the  House  of  Commons  by  means  of  the  Strangers' 
Entrance.  The  evidence  clearly  showed  that  Mrs. 
Haverfield  and  the  others  had  been  on  the  public 

DECEMBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  19 10    471 

highway  and  had  been  brought  up  to  the  door  of  the 
House  of  Commons  by  Superintendent  Isaacs  of  the 
Police,  so  that  up  to  that  point  they  could  not  pos- 
sibly have  done  anything  wrong.  Opposite  the  door 
of  the  House  of  Commons  an  open  space  had  been 
kept  clear  by  the  presence  of  a  police  cordon,  the 
crowd  not  being  allowed  to  reach  this  point.  Within 
the  cordon  there  were  only  members  of  the  police 
force,  persons  who  had  business  in  the  House  of  Com- 
mons and  the  eight  members  of  the  Women's  depu- 
tation. Therefore  it  was  absurd  to  say  that  these 
eight  ladies  had  caused  an  obstruction. 

It  was  suggested  that  the  women  ought  to  have 
gone  away  because,  as  he  put  it,  "  a  casual  police-, 
man  "  had  said  that  the  Prime  Minister  was  not  in 
the  House  of  Commons,  but  that  was  really  not  a 
sufficient  answer.  The  ordinary  procedure  certainly 
was  not  to  take  an  answer  from  a  policeman  in  the 
street  if  one  wished  to  interview  a  Member  of  Parlia- 
ment. The  police  had  no  right  to  stop  anyone  from 
going  into  the  House  of  Commons.  It  was  also 
said  that  the  women  had  been  given  a  letter  from  the 
Prime  Minister  saying  that  he  would  not  or  could  not 
see  them.  "  Had  he  said,  *  I  cannot  see  you  here 
and  now,  but  I  will  see  you  on  such,  and  such  an 
occasion,  this  is  not  a  convenient  time,'  that,"  argued 
Lord  Robert,  "  would  have  been  a  sufficient  answer, 
because  the  right  to  petition  must  be  exercised  rea- 
sonably, but  his  letter  contained  an  unqualified  re- 
fusal, and  if  the  right  to  petition  exists,  that  is  no 
answer  at  all." 

Lord  Robert  then  submitted  that  if  there  is  a  right 
to  petition  a  Member  of  Parliament  there  must  be  a 
duty  on  the  part  of  a  Member  of  Parliament  to  re- 


ceive  that  petition,  and  that  no  one  is  justified  in 
interfering  with  the  exercise  of  that  right.  If  the 
women  were  legally  justified  in  insisting  upon  the 
right  to  present  their  petition  they  were  also  justified 
in  refusing  the  order  of  the  police  to  go  away  for 
there  wus  no  obligation  to  obey  the  police  if  the 
police  were  acting  beyond  the  scope  of  their  proper 
duties  or  contrary  to  the  law  of  the  land.  In  the 
case  of  Codd  v.  Cave  a  warrant  had  been  issued 
against  a  man  and  a  policeman  had  gone  to  his  house 
to  arrest  him  without  taking  a  warrant  with  him. 
The  man  had  declined  to  go  with  the  policeman  and 
had  knocked  him  down  and  injured  him  severely  but 
it  had  been  held  by  the  Court  that  the  man  was  not 
guilty  because  the  policeman  had  no  right  to  arrest 
him  without  a  warrant. 

In  delivering  judgment  the  Lord  Chief  Justice 
said  that  he  entirely  agreed  that  there  was  a  right  to 
present  a  petition  either  to  the  Prime  Minister  as 
Prime  Minister  or  as  a  Member  of  Parliament,  and 
that  petitions  to  the  King  should  be  presented  to  the 
Prime  Minister.  But  he  said  the  claim  of  the 
women  was  not  only  to  present  a  petition  but  '*  to 
be  received  in  deputation."  Had  it  been  only  to 
present  the  petition  he  did  not  think  that  Mr.  As- 
quith  would  have  refused,  and  he  expressed  the  opin- 
ion that  his  refusal  to  receive  the  women  in  deputa- 
tion was  not  unnatural,  '*  in  consequence  of  what  we 
know  did  happen  on  previous  occasions." 

In  making  this  remark  the  Lord  Chief  Justice 
showed  that  instead  of  concentrating  his  mind  upon 
the  actual  case  before  him  he  was  allowing  himself 
to  be  biassed  by  inaccurate  reports  as  to  what  had 
taken  place  on  previous  occasions.     As  a  matter  of 

DECEMBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  1910    473 

fact  Mr.  Asquith  never  had  received  a  deputation  of 
women  since  he  had  been  Prime  Minister  and  never 
at  any  time  had  he  received  a  deputation  of  the 
Women's  Social  and  Political  Union  in  the  House 
of  Commons.  Therefore  it  was  absurd  to  talk 
about  what  had  taken  place  on  **  previous  occasions," 
and,  moreover,  even  if  Mr.  Asquith  had  received 
deputations  on  previous  occasions  and  trouble  had 
resulted,  the  Lord  Chief  Justice  would  have  had  no 
right  to  take  these  occurrences  into  account  unless 
reliable  evidence  as  to  what  actually  had  ^occurred 
had  been  laid  before  him  in  connexion  with  the  case. 

Relying  on  the  Metropolitan  Police  Act  of  1839, 
which  provides  that  it  shall  be  lawful  for  the  Com- 
missioner of  Police  to  make  regulations  and  to  give 
directions  to  the  constables  for  keeping  order  and  for 
preventing  any  obstruction  of  the  thoroughfares  in 
the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  the  House  of  Com- 
mons and  the  Sessional  Order  which  empowers  the 
Police  to  keep  clear  the  approaches  to  the  House  of 
Commons,  the  Lord  Chief  Justice  decided  that  Mrs. 
Pankhurst,  Mrs.  Haverfield  and  the  other  women 
had  broken  the  law  when  they  had  insisted  that  they 
had  a  right  to  enter  the  House  of  Commons  and 
that  for  this  reason  they  had  been  properly  convicted 
and  that  the  appeal  must  be  dismissed  with  costs. 

By  this  decision  the  Ancient  Constitutional  right 
of  petition  secured  to  the  people  of  this  country  by 
the  Act  of  13,  Charles  II,  and  the  Bill  of  Rights, 
was,  for  all  practical  purposes,  reridered  null  and 
void.  What  is  the  use  of  a  right  that  one  may  not 
put  into  practice?  Does  anyone  suppose  for  one 
moment  that  the  right  of  petition  would  have  been 
cherished  as  it  has  been,  and  that  people  would  have 


suffered  heavy  punishment  for  putting  it  into  prac- 
tice, in  troublous  times,  if  it  had  merely  consisted 
in  sending  a  written  document  obscurely,  through 
the  post,  or  by  a  messenger,  to  the  person  in  power 
whom  it  was  intended  to  influence?  No,  for  the 
right  could  never  have  been  anything  but  valueless 
had  the  presentation  of  the  petition  not  been  accom- 
panied by  the  pomp  and  circumstance,  and  the  dra- 
matic and  spectacular  character,  of  a  public  deputa- 
tion, and  by  the  influence  that  only  personal  pleading 
can  lend.  Every  scrap  of  evidence  tends  to  show 
that  the  right  of  petition  was  to  be  exercised  per- 
sonally. If  it  were  otherwise  why  should  the  Act 
of  Charles  II  have  insisted  that  the  signatories  to  the 
petition  should  be  represented  by  a  limited  deputa- 
tion ?  Moreover  there  is  no  suggestion  that  a  writ- 
ten document  was  required  and  that  the  petition 
might  not  have  been  made,  as  it  frequently  was,  by 
word  of  mouth. 

Shortly  after  this  case  of  Pankhurst  and  Haver- 
field  V.  Jarvis  had  been  decided  the  Divisional  Court 
was  again  occupied  with  an  appeal  case  bearing  upon 
the  right  of  petition,  this  time  at  the  instance  of  the 
Women's  Freedom  League.  In  July  the  League 
had  followed  the  example  of  the  W.  S.  P.  U.  in 
claiming  the  constitutional  right  of  personal  petition 
to  the  Prime  Minister.  After  much  preliminary  ne- 
gotiation a  deputation  of  their  number  had  appeared 
at  the  Strangers'  entrance  to  the  House  of  Com- 
mons on  July  5th  and  on  being  told  that  Mr.  As- 
quith  would  not  receive  them  they  had  announced 
their  intention  of  waiting  there  until  he  should 
change  his  mind.  They  were  allowed  to  wait  and, 
reinforced  by  relays  of  others,  continued  to  do  so 

DECEMBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  1910    475 

right  on  into  the  New  Year  and  were  constantly  to 
be  seen  standing  outside  on  the  pavement  both  day 
and  night,  whenever  the  House  was  sitting.  Many 
Members  of  Parliament  appealed  to  Mr.  Asquith 
to  receive  them  and  so  bring  their  weary  vigil  to  an 
end  but  he  obstinately  refused  and  always  evaded 
"  the  Suffragette  pickets,"  as  they  were  called.  Usu- 
ally he  left  the  House  by  one  of  the  underground 
passages  but  it  was  said  that  one  night  he  hurried 
unrecognised  through  their  lines.  Punch  then  pub- 
lished a  cartoon  by  E.  T.  Reed,  entitled  **  Mr. 
Asquith's  disguises,"  showing  the  Prime  Minister  as 
a  cab  driver,  a  postman,  a  policeman,  an  elderly 
maiden  lady  and  in  other  characters. 

On  July  9th,  the  pickets  were  also  put  on  at  No. 
10  Downing  Street,  where  they  succeeded  in  way- 
laying the  Prime  Minister  at  about  2  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  and  ran  towards  him  crying,  "  A  petition! 
A  petition!  Will  you  give  us  a  hearing,  Mr.  As- 
quith?" As  he  rushed  past  he  snatched  the  docu- 
ment from  one  of  them,  saying,  "  Well,  I  will  take 
the  petition,"  and  then  fled  on  up  the  steps  and 
banged  the  door.  The  pickets  were  still  waiting  for 
the  interview  when  the  police  arrived  to  arrest  them. 
They  were  afterwards  sentenced  to  three  weeks'  im- 
prisonment in  default  of  paying  fines  of  £3. 

On  July  15  th  four  women  again  picketted  Down- 
ing Street,  but  were  arrested  and  sent  to  prison  with- 
out even  so  much  as  catching  a  glimpse  of  the 
Premier.  On  August  i6th  a  line  of  women  was 
drawn  up  between  the  House  of  Commons  and  the 
door  of  10  Downing  Street,  where  stood  Mrs.  Cob- 
den  Sanderson  and  Mrs.  Despard.  This  time  they 
saw  Mr.  Asquith,  but  though  some  of  the  women 


spoke  to  him,  he  hurried  on  without  making  any 
reply.  Three  days  later,  on  the  19th,  the  line  of 
women  was  again  formed,  but  Mrs.  Despard,  Mrs. 
Cobden  Sanderson  and  six  others  were  placed  under 
arrest.  Mr.  Tim  Healy,  the  well-known  Irish  mem- 
ber of  Parliament,  was  briefed  for  their  defence,  but 
on  August  27th,  Mr.  Curtis  Bennett  decided  to  fine 
the  women  forty  shillings  or  to  send  them  to  prison 
for  seven  days.  He  stated  a  case  for  the  High  Court 
and  this  was  heard  on  January  14th,  19 10,  when  the 
Lord  Chief  Justice  decided  against  the  women,  say- 
ing that  there  were  other  means  of  presenting  peti- 
tions than  going  in  numbers  to  do  so. 

Meanwhile  it  was  announced  that  the  cases  against 
the  ninety-four  women  who  were  concerned  with 
Mrs.  Pankhurst  and  Mrs.  Haverfield  would  be  with- 
drawn, but  at  the  same  time  application  was  made  by 
the  authorities  for  the  fines  recorded  against  Mrs. 
Pankhurst  and  Mrs.  Haverfield  and  it  was  intimated 
that  unless  these  were  forthcoming,  steps  would  be 
taken  to  arrest  and  imprison  them.  But  immedi- 
ately after  this,  on  Monday,  December  6th,  an  offi- 
cial receipt  for  the  amount  of  Mrs.  Pankhurst's  fine 
was  sent  to  Clement's  Inn  and  it  was  stated  that  the 
money  had  been  paid  by  some  unknown  person.^ 
Two  days  later  Mrs.  Pankhurst  returned  from  her 
lecturing  tour  in  the  United  States  and  Canada, 
which  had  been  a  most  triumphant  success. 

On  December  9th,  the  action  by  Mrs.  Leigh 
against  Mr.  Gladstone  as  Home  Secretary,  and  the 
Governor  and  Doctor  of  Winson  Green  Gaol,  which 

1 A  few  days  later  the  same  thing  happened  in  the  case  of 
Mrs.  Haverfield,  and  later  still  in  regard  to  the  members  of  the 
Women's  Freedom  League. 

Jessie   Kenney  as  she   tried   to  gain  admittance  to  Mr. 

Asquith's  meeting  on  Dec.  10,  1909  disguised 

as  a  telegraph  boy 

DECEMBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  1910    477 

was  to  decide  the  question  of  the  legality  of  forcible 
feeding  by  the  prison  authorities,  was  tried  before 
the  Lord  Chief  Justice.  It  was  pointed  out  on  Mrs. 
Leigh's  behalf  that  there  was  no  rule  or  regulation 
to  justify  forcible  feeding.  Dr.  Ernest  Dormer 
Kirby,  who  had  attended  her  on  her  release,  testified 
that  her  condition  was  **  distinctly  grave,"  and  that 
she  had  then  weighed  no  more  than  six  stone  six 
pounds.  Sir  Victor  Horsley,  Mr.  William  Hugh 
Fenton,  Senior  Surgeon  at  the  Chelsea  Hospital  for 
Women,  and  Mr.  Mansell-MouUin  all  declared 
forcible  feeding  by  means  of  the  nasal  tube  to  be 
painful,  dangerous,  injurious  to  health,  and  incapable 
of  providing  adequate  nourishment.  Dr.  Maurice 
Craig,  Consulting  Physician  of  Welbach  Street,  and 
late  Senior  Assistant  Physician  at  Bethlehem  Hos- 
pital, who  was  called  as  a  witness  for  the  defence 
of  Mr.  Gladstone  and  of  the  officials,  said  that  the 
operation  of  nasal  feeding  was  **  a  simple  one  on  the 
average."  He  considered  it  more  dangerous  to 
leave  a  patient  starving  than  to  overcome  resistance. 

Sir  Richard  Douglas  Powell,  also  called  for  the 
defence,  admitted  that  he  would  not  willingly  resort 
to  artificial  feeding  unless  it  was  **  quite  necessary*" 

The  Lord  Chief  Justice  said  that  he  should  rule 
that  it  was  the  duty  of  the  medical  officer  of  the 
prison  to  take  all  reasonable  steps  to  preserve  Mrs. 
Leigh's  life  and  to  prevent  her  committing  suicide. 
The  only  question  he  should  leave  to  the  jury  would 
be  whether  the  governor  and  doctor  had  taken  the 
right  steps.  In'  his  summing-up  he  assumed  through- 
out that  the  jury  must  decide  against  Mrs.  Leigh. 
They  did  as  he  directed,  and  she  thereupon  lost  her 


On  January  19th,  an  action  was  begun  by  Miss 
Emily  Wilding  Davison  against  the  visiting  justices 
of  Strangeways  Gaol,  Manchester,  for  having  or- 
dered that  a  hose-pipe  should  be  played  upon  her. 
Judge  Parry  said  that  the  use  of  the  hose-pipe  was 
both  ineffective  and  unnecessary;  that  the  duty  of 
the  visiting  justices  was  to  prevent  any  abuse  of  au- 
thority by  the  officials  of  the  gaol ;  and  to  report  and 
make  suggestions.  Therefore  he  held  that  they 
were  not  justified  in  ordering  the  assault,  and  decided 
the  case  in  Miss  Davison's  favour.  In  assessing  the 
damages,  however,  he  said  that  he  should  take  into 
account  the  fact  that  the  hose-pipe  incident  had  re- 
sulted in  the  prisoner's  release  before  the  expiration 
of  her  sentence;  had  provided  her  with  "  *  copy '  for 
a  vivacious  and  entertaining  account  of  the  affair  in 
the  Press  " ;  and  had  advertised  her  cause.  Under 
these  circumstances  the  damages  should  be  no  more 
than  forty  shillings,  a  nominal  sum.  .  The  costs  Which 
were  charged  against  the  visiting  magistrates  were 
however  placed  on  the  highest  scale  because  the  case 
was  held  to  be  one  of  great  importance. 

Meanwhile  there  was  no  lack  of  turbulent  scenes 
all  over  the  country.  Cabinet  Ministers'  meetings 
were  daily  being  interrupted  both  by  women  who  had 
succeeded  in  concealing  themselves  and  by  men  who 
urged  the  question  of  Votes  for  Women  on  their  be- 
half. When  Mr.  Lloyd  George  spoke  at  Reading 
two  women  started  up  from  under  the  platform, 
during  his  speech.  In  the  Queen's  Hall,  London,  a 
few  days  afterwards,  a  forcible  feeding  tube  was 
suddenly  flung  at  him  and  he  caught  it  in  his  hands. 
As  the  stewards  fell  upon  the  man  who  had  thrown 

DECEMBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  19 10    479 

It,  Mr.  Lloyd  George  cried,  "  I  do  not  envy  him  his 
paid  job." 

When  speaking  in  the  Louth  Town  Hall,  Mr. 
Lloyd  George  was  referring  to  the  House  of  Lords 
as  an  **  unrepresentative  chamber "  when  a  voice 
from  the  roof  remarked,  **  So  is  the  House  of  Com- 
mons as  far  as  women  are  concerned."  **  I  see  some 
rats  have  got  in;  let  them  squeal,  it  does  not  mat- 
ter," said  the  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer,  and, 
amidst  a  terrible  uproar.  Miss  Hudson  and  Miss 
Bertha  Brewster  were  dragged  down  from  amongst 
the  rafters  where  they  had  lain  concealed  for  many 
hours.  They  were  taken  to  the  police  station, 
charged  with  infringing  the  Public  Meeting  Act,  and 
detained  in  custody  from  Saturday  until  Monday, 
both  in  the  same  small  cell,  which  contained  only  one 
narrow  prison  mattress  and  some  rugs.  On  Monday 
the  magistrate  discharged  them  with  a  caution,  com- 
plimenting them  on  their  pluck.  The  Government 
was  averse  to  allowing  them  to  be  let  off  so  lightly, 
and  on  Wednesday  Miss  Brewster  was  rearrested 
for  having  broken  her  cell  windows  in  Walton  Gaol, 
Liverpool,  in  the  previous  August.  She  was  sen- 
tenced to  six  weeks'  imprisonment,  but  gave  notice 
to  appeal  against  the  sentence  on  the  ground  that 
she  had  already  been  specially  punished  for  this  of- 
fence whilst  in  prison.  On  January  31st  she  was 
released  in  order  that  she  might  prosecute  the  ap- 
peal, and  evidently  thinking  that  the  case  hardly  did 
him  credit,  Mr.  Gladstone  announced  that  she  would 
not  be  asked  to  complete  her  term  of  imprisonment. 
The  appeal  was  therefore  dropped. 

On  December  20th,  Mr.  Asquith  had  arranged  to 


speak  both  at  Liverpool  and  Birkenhead,  and  owing 
to  his  desire  to  avoid  the  Suffragettes,  detectives 
smuggled  him  across  the  river,  amongst  the  luggage. 
Nevertheless  outside  the  Liberal  Club  Miss  Selina 
Martin  and  Miss  Leslie  Hall,  who  stood  in  the  gut- 
ter, the  one  disguised  as  a  match  girl,  and  the  other 
as  an  orange  seller,  spoke  to  him  as  he  stepped  from 
his  motor  car,  and  urged  upon  him  the  necessity  for 
granting  the  franchise  to  women.  He  dashed  away 
without  answering,  and  in  protest,  and  by  way  of 
warning.  Miss  Selina  Martin  tossed  a  ginger  beer 
bottle  into  the  empty  car  which  he  had  left. 

Both  women  were  at  once  arrested,  and  were 
afterwards  remanded  in  custody  for  six  days.  Bail 
was  refused,  though  Miss  Selina  Martin  promised 
that  she  and  her  comrade  would  refrain  from  mili- 
tant action  until  the  case  should  come  on.^  The 
women  were  removed  to  Walton  Gaol,  and  were 
there  treated  as  though  they  had  been  ordinary  con- 
victed criminals.  They  protested  by  refusing  to  eat 
just  as  so  many  of  their  comrades  had  done  before 
them.  Miss  Martin  also  barricaded  her  cell,  but  the 
officials  forced  their  way  in,  pulled  her  off  the  bed  and 
flung  her  on  the  floor,  shaking  and  striking  her  un- 
mercifully. Shortly  afterwards  her  cell  was  visited 
by  the  deputy  medical  officer,  who  ordered  that  she 
should  get  up  and  dress.  She  explained  that  she 
had  been  wet  through  by  the  snow  storm  on  the 
previous  day  and  that  her  clothes  were  still  saturated, 
for  no  attempt  had  been  made  to  get  them  dry,  but 
she  was  forcibly  dressed  and,  with  her  hands  hand- 
cuffed behind  her,  was  dragged  to  a  cold,  dark  pun- 

1  Miss  Martin's  promise  was  reported  in  the  Liverpool  Daily 
Post  and  other  papers. 

DECEMBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    481 

ishment  cell  and  flung  on  the  stone  floor.  She  lay 
there  in  an  exhausted  state  for  some  hours,  being 
unable  to  rise  without  the  aid  of  her  hands  and  arms, 
which  were  still  fastened  behind  her  back,  until,  at 
last,  a  wardress  came  in  and  lifted  her  onto  the  bed 
board.  The  irons  were  kept  on  all  night.  On 
Friday,  the  third  day  of  her  imprisonment.  Miss 
Martin  was  brought  up  before  the  visiting  magis- 
trates. She  protested  against  the  way  in  which 
she  was  being  treated,  pointing  out  that  she  was  still 
an  unconvicted  prisoner,  but  she  was  told  that  the 
oflicials  were  quite  justified  in  all  that  they  might 
do.  The  same  evening  several  wardresses  entered 
her  cell  and  ordered  her  to  go  to  the  doctor's  room 
to  be  forcibly  fed. 

"  I  refused,"  she  says,  "  and  was  dragged  to  the  foot  of 
the  stairs  with  my  hands  handcuffed  behind.  Then  I  was 
frog-marched,  that  is  to  say,  carried  face  downwards  by  the 
arms  and  legs  to  the  Doctor's  room.  After  a  violent  strug- 
gle I  was  forced  into  a  chair,  the  handcuffs  removed,  my 
arms  being  held  by  the  wardresses,  whilst  the  doctor  forcibly 
fed  me  by  that  obnoxious  instrument,  the  stomach  tube. 
Most  unnecessary  force  was  used  by  the  assistant  medical  of- 
ficer when  applying  the  gag.  The  operation  finished,  I 
walked  handcuffed  to  the  top  of  the  stairs  but  refused  to 
return  to  the  punishment  cell.  Then  two  wardresses  caught 
me  by  the  shoulders  and  dragged  me  down  the  steps,  an- 
other kicking  me  from  behind.  As  I  reached  the  bottom 
step  they  relaxed  their  hold  and  I  fell  on  my  head.  I  was 
picked  up  and  carried  to  the  cell." 

Next  day  she  was  forcibly  fed  and  afterwards 
again  refused  to  return  to  the  dark  cell,  but  she  says, 
"  I  was  seized  by  a  number  of  wardresses  and  car- 



rled  down  the  steps,  my  head  being  allowed  to  bump 
several  times.'* 

Meanwhile,  Miss  Leslie  Hall  had  also  broken  her 
windows  and  had  been  placed  in  a  punishment  cell 
and  kept  in  handcuffs  continuously  for  three  days. 
After  two  and  a  half  days'  fasting  she  was  fed  by 
the  stomach  tube.  The  doctor  had  taunted  her 
meanwhile,  and  jokingly  told  the  wardress  that  she 
was  *'  mentally  sick,"  and  that  it  was  "  like  stuffing  a 
turkey  for  Christmas." 

On  Monday,  December  27th,  the  women  were 
again  brought  into  court,  when  Miss  Leslie  Hall 
was  ordered  one  month's  imprisonment  with  hard 
labour,  and  Miss  Selina  Martin  two  months.  On 
returning  to  prison  both  the  women  refused  to  wear 
prison  dress  and  recommenced  the  hunger  strike. 
Each  one  was  then  clothed  in  a  straight  jacket  and 
placed  in  a  punishment  cell.  Forcible  feeding  was 
continued  and  they  both  grew  rapidly  weaker  until 
February  3rd,  when  they  were  released. 

Meanwhile  the  facts  as  to  their  treatment  whilst 
imprisoned  on  remand  had  been  widely  circulated, 
for  they  had  dictated  statements  for  their  friends' 
use  whilst  their  trial  was  being  conducted.  Mr. 
Gladstone  wrote  to  the  Times  denying  the  truth  of 
the  statements,  declaring  that  the  reason  for  refusing 
bail  to  the  women  was  that  they  had  refused  to  prom- 
ise to  be  of  good  behaviour  until  their  trial  came  on, 
that  no  unnecessary  violence  had  been  used  and  that 
the  women  themselves  had  made  no  complaint.  But 
indeed,  the  inaccuracy  of  Mr.  Gladstone's  statements 
had  become  proverbial,  for  he  was  constantly  deny- 
ing the  truth  of  charges  which  were  clearly  sub- 
stantiated by  the  most  reliable  evidence. 

DECEMBER,  igog,  TO  JANUARY,  igio    483 

Now  Lady  Constance  Lytton,  in  spite  of  her  frag- 
ile constitution  and  the  disease  from  which  she  suf- 
fered, again  determined  to  place  herself  beside  the 
women  in  the  fighting  ranks  who  were  enduring  the 
greatest  hardship.  Believing  that  she  had  been  re- 
leased from  Newcastle  prison  on  account  of  her  rank, 
and  family  influence,  she  determined  that  this  time 
she  would  go  disguised.  She  knew  that,  not  only 
her  family,  but  the  leaders  of  the  militant  movement 
would  try  to  dissuade  her  on  account  of  her  health. 
She,  therefore,  decided  to  speak  of  her  intention  to 
no  one  except  Mrs.  Baines  and  a  few  local  workers 
whom  she  pledged  to  secrecy.  On  January  14th, 
she  and  Mrs.  Baines  organised  a  procession  to 
Walton  Gaol.  A  halt  was  called  opposite  the 
prison,  and,  having  told  the  story  of  what  was  hap- 
pening inside  Lady  Constance  called  the  people  to 
follow  her  to  its  gates,  and  demand  the  release  of 
the  tortured  women.  Then  she  moved  forward 
and,  as  she  had  foreseen,  she  was  immediately  placed 
under  arrest.  At  the  same  time  Elsie  Howey 
dashed  into  the  prison  yard  and  broke  one  of  the 
windows  of  the  Governor's  house  by  striking  it  with 
a  purple-white-and-green  flag.  She,  too,  was  taken 
into  custody  and,  bail  being  refused,  the  two  com- 
rades passed  the  night  in  the  cells.  Lady  Constance 
had  disguised  herself  by  cutting  her  hair,  wearing 
spectacles,  and  dressing  herself  in  poor  and  plain 
garments,  and  now  she  gave  Jane  Warton,  seam- 
stress, as  her  name  and  occupation.  Next  morning 
she  was  sentenced  to  fourteen  days'  hard  labour  with- 
out the  option  of  a  fine,  whilst  Elsie  Howey  was  sent 
to  prison  for  six  weeks'  hard  labour.  Then  they 
were  dragged  ruthlessly  away  to  the  torture  which 


they  well  knew  was  to  come.  On  arriving  at  the 
prison,  on  Saturday,  January  15th,  they  made  the 
usual  claim  to  be  treated  as  political  prisoners,  and, 
on  this  being  refused,  signified  their  intention  of 
refusing  to  conform  to  any  of  the  prison  rules. 
Thereupon  they  were  forcibly  stripped  by  the  ward- 
resses and  dressed  in  the  prison  clothes.  At  five 
o'clock,  on  Tuesday,  the  doctor  entered  Lady  Con- 
stance Lytton's  cell  with  four  wardresses  and  the 
forcible  feeding  apparatus.  Then,  without  testing 
her  heart  or  feeling  her  pulse,  though  she. had  not 
been  medically  examined  since  entering  the  prison, 
he  ordered  that  she  should  be  placed  in  position. 
She  did  not  resist,  but  lay  down  on  the  bed  board 
voluntarily,  well  knowing  that  she  would  need  all 
her  strength  for  the  ordeal  that  was  to  come.  Her 
poor  heart  was  palpitating  wildly,  but  she  set  her 
teeth  and  tried  to  calm  herself.  The  doctor  then 
produced  a  wooden  and  a  steel  gag  and  told  her 
that  he  would  not  use  the  latter,  which  would  hurt, 
unless  she  resisted  him ;  but,  as  she  would  not  unlock 
her  teeth,  he  threw  the  milder  wooden  instrument 
aside  and  pried  her  mouth  open  with  the  steel  one. 
Then  the  stomach  tube  was  forced  down  and  the 
whole  hateful  feeding  business  was  gone  through. 
"  The  reality  surpassed  all  that  I  had  anticipated," 
she  said.  **  It  was  a  living  nightmare  of  pain,  hor- 
ror and  revolting  degradation.  The  sense  is  of 
being  strangled,  suffocated  by  the  thrust  down  of  the 
large  rubber  tube,  which  arouses  great  irritation  in 
the  throat  and  nausea  in  the  stomach.  The  anguish 
and  effort  of  retching  whilst  the  tube  is  forcibly 
pressed  back  into  the  stomach  and  the  natural  writh- 
ing of  the  body  restrained,  defy  description.     I  for- 

DECEMBER,  igog,  TO  JANUARY,  1910    485 

got  what  I  was  in  there  for,  I  forgot  women,  I  forgot 
everything,  except  my  own  sufferings,  and  I  was  com- 
pletely overcome  by  them."  The  doctor,  annoyed 
by  her  one  effort  to  resist,  affected  to  consider  her 
distress  assumed,  and  struck  her  contemptuously  on 
the  cheek  as  he  rose  to  leave,  but  the  wardresses 
showed  pity  for  her  weakness,  and  they  helped  her 
to  wipe  her  clothes,  over  which  she  had  been  sick. 
They  promised  to  bring  her  others  in  the  morning, 
but  she  was  obliged  to  pass  the  night  as  she  was, 
for,  owing  both  to  the  low  temperature  of  the  cell 
and  her  own  lack  of  vitality,  she  was  always  so  cold 
that  she  wore  her  nightdress  and  all  her  clothes  both 
night  and  day;  even  then  her  limbs  remained  stiff 
with  cold,  and  though,  at  last,  as  a  special  favour, 
she  was  allowed  first  one,  and  then  another  extra 
blanket  and  the  cape  which  the  prisoners  wear  at 
exercise,  she  remained  cold,  for  she  says,  "  It  was 
like  clothing  a  stone  to  warm  it."  When  she  was 
fed  the  second  time  the  vomiting  was  more  excessive 
and  the  doctor's  clothes  suffered.  He  was  angry 
and  left  her  cell  hastily,  saying,  "  You  did  that  on 
purpose.  If  you  do  it  again  to-morrow  I  shall  feed 
you  twice." 

How  very  much  easier  would  it  have  been  to  have 
given  in  or  never  to  have  started  .this  resistance? 
How  very  much  more  natural  to  this  gentle  creature 
whose  whole  life  had  been  one  of  affectionate  defer- 
ence to  the  wishes  of  others,  who,  because  of  her 
kindly  sweetness  had  been  named  by  her  family 
"  Angel  Con,"  would  it  have  been  to  save  others 
trouble  and  quietly  to  submit  to  the  discomforts  of 
prison  life.  But  where  principles  were  in  question, 
none  could  be  stronger  or  firmer  than   Constance 


Lytton,  and  she  was  determined  to  go  on  with  the 
bitter  thing  until  the  end.  Yet,  through  it  all,  her 
gentle  nature  was  apparent.  She  could  not  bear 
that  any  of  the  ordinary  prisoners  should  be  brought 
in  to  clean  up  the  mess  on  her  cell  floor  and,  except 
upon  one  or  two  occasions  she  always  managed  to 
do  it  for  herself  in  spite  of  her  weakness  and  distress. 
Notwithstanding  his  brutal  rudeness  to  her,  she  even 
tried  to  wipe  the  doctor's  clothes,  if  anything  was 
spilt  upon  them.  For  the  sake  of  the  other  prison- 
ers she  tried,  too,  to  help  him  with  his  hateful  task 
by  making  suggestions  to  him  as  to  how  it  might  be 
rendered  more  efficacious  and  some  of  its  horrors 
mitigated,  but  her  suggestions  were  contemptuously 
disregarded.  The  third  time  she  was  fed  she  vom- 
ited continuously,  but  the  doctor  kept  pouring  in 
more  food  until  she  was  seized  with  a  violent  fit  of 
shivering.  Then  he  became  alarmed.  He  hastily 
told  the  wardresses  to  lay  her  on  the  floor  and  called 
in  his  assistant  to  test  her  heart,  but,  after  a  brief 
and  superficial  investigation,  it  was  pronounced 
**  quite  sound  **  and  the  pulse  "  steady."  Next  time 
he  appeared  he  pleaded  with  her,  saying,  "  I  do  beg 
of  you,  I  appeal  to  you,  not. as  a  prison  doctor,  but 
as  a  man,  to  give  over.  You  are  a  delicate  woman, 
you  are  not  fit  for  this  sort  of  thing.'*  "  Is  anybody 
fit  for  it?  "  she  answered.  "  I  beg  of  you,  I  appeal 
to  you,  not  as  a  prisoner,  but  as  a  woman,  to  refuse 
to  continue  this  inhuman  treatment." 

From  Wednesday,  January  19th,  and  onwards, 
she  began  to  find  that  not  only  did  she  receive 
greater  consideration  from  the  doctor,  but  that  there 
was  a  marked  change  in  her  treatment  generally. 
This  led  her  to  conclude  that  her  identity  had  been 

DECEMBER,  1909,  TO  JANUARY,  19 10    487 

discovered  or  at  least  suspected,  and  she  therefore 
tried  to  take  advantage  of  whatever  privileges  might 
be  niade  to  her  in  order  to  secure  concessions  for  her 
comrades  and  to  induce  the  officials  to  act  with  more 
humanity.  But,  though  she  considered  that  she  had 
been  treated  with  more  kindness  than  was  usual,  we 
learn  that  obvious  simple  necessities  were  denied  her. 
The  processes  of  digestion  were  entirely  stagnant  and 
she  was  losing  weight  daily,  and  though  she  made  sev- 
eral suggestions  as  to  remedies  and  at  last  an  aperient 
drug  was  promised  to  her,  it  was  never  supplied. 
She  was  right,  however,  in  thinking  that  her  identity 
had  been  discovered.  On  Friday  the  authorities 
made  up  their  minds  that  she  was  not  Jane  Warton, 
and  on  Sunday  morning  both  the  governor  and  doc- 
tor appeared  and  told  her  that  she  was  to  be  released 
and  that  her  sister  had  come  to  fetch  her. 

Lady  Constance  Lytton  now  sent  a  careful  state- 
ment to  Mr.  Gladstone  asserting  that  the  forcible 
feeding  was  performed  with  unnecessary  cruelty  and 
without  proper  care.  He  declared  that  all  her 
charges  were  unfounded,  and  the  visiting  magistrates, 
having  held  a  one-sided  enquiry  into  the  matter,  an- 
nounced that  the  regulations  had  been  carried  out 
with  the  greatest  care  and  consideration. 



The  General  Election,  The  Truce,  The  Concilia- 
tion Committee,  a  Series  of  Great  Demonstrations. 
War  is  Again  Declared.  Another  General  Elec- 
tion.   Conclusion. 

With  the  opening  of  the  new  year,  19 10,  whilst 
many  of  the  women  were  still  in  prison,  the  General 
Election  began.  The  Women's  Social  and  Political 
Union  fought  the  Government  in  forty  constituen- 
cies. In  almost  every  one  of  these  contests  the  Lib- 
eral vote  was  reduced,  and  eighteen  of  the  seats, 
which  had  been  held  by  Government  representatives 
at  the  dissolution,  were  wrested  from  them.  During 
the  election  the  Liberal  Government's  absolute  ma- 
jority over  all  sections  of*the  House  had  been  swept 
away,  and  they  were  now  dependent  for  their  exist- 
ence upon  the  votes  of  the  Labour  and  Irish  parties. 

The  Suffragettes  were  now  advised  in  many  quar- 
ters that  the  militant  tactics  had  forced  the  Govern- 
ment to  the  point  of  wishing  to  gain  peace  by 
granting  votes  to  women,  but  that